Google plans to open AI research center in China

Jack Ma'We shouldn't fear AI

It's not clear whether the opening of the research center will allow Google to gain intelligence through local workers, or whether it is a sign that the company plans to work more closely with the Chinese government to support local merchants and give US companies a way to enter the Chinese market. The news was shared by Google chief scientist Fei-Fei Li ahead of Google Developer Days events in Shanghai.

In spite of a complete ban on Google services in China, the tech giant has launched the Google AI China Center on Wednesday in a bid to make its presence felt in the field of artificial intelligence and also gain a foothold in the second largest economy in the world. Partnering with China's top-level AI workers is a valuable opportunity, she said at the conference, adding that the company aimed to deliver results in this first step toward long-term cooperation in the field. They want to work with the best AI talent as this is the first AI company.

The national flag of China flies in front of the former headquarters of Google in Beijing, July 1, 2010.

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At one point, Fei-Fei Li said: "the science of AI has no borders, neither do its benefits". The center is focused on "basic AI research" and will be made up of a team of researchers based in Beijing. "As technology starts to shape human life in more profound ways, we will need to work together to ensure that the AI of tomorrow benefits all of us".

It comes just months after Beijing set out its ambitions for the rapidly developing technology, announcing plans to build a domestic artificial intelligence industry worth almost $150 billion in the coming years. Jia Li is the head of research and development at Google Cloud AI. The Google AI China Centre will also fund and sponsor AI conferences and workshops, collaborating with the Chinese AI research community.

Google said it already had people in China working on some of its top global products, and that it wouldn't be adding new research capacity in the country if it were anxious about IP theft. "Chinese companies have been investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies over the past five years, and the central government has offered continuous policy support", Global Times, a highly nationalist Chinese media outlet, wrote in October.

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