When Google abandoned the Chinese search market over government censorship in 2010, it seemed a remarkably principled act of self-sabotage.
Google is opening an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research center in China to poach the local talent and push its presence further in a country where its products are still blocked. The objective of this center is to find ways to improve AI through basic research while working with the large network of Google engineers in the country. This Center joins other AI research groups we have all over the world, including in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich, all contributing towards the same goal of finding ways to make AI work better for everyone. It is also setting the stage for a battle over who gets to deliver AI to the rest of the world.
Likewise, it seems that China, which is desperate to make the most of advances in AI, can not ignore Google's efforts in the field (see "China's AI Awakening").
Unveiled today by Fei-Fei Li, Google Cloud's Chief Scientist, at the Google Developer Days event in Shanghai, it is the company's first lab in Asia. In China, Google has deployed some of the best talent in the field, and presently, there are over 20 jobs open, notes TechCrunch.
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It is also significant that the lab is under the purview of Google Cloud.
In fact, China's work in the artificial intelligence industry has been monumental, a direct result of the government investing substantial amounts of money into research.
Big tech companies in both the USA and China are now racing to add machine-learning capabilities to their cloud computing systems.
Despite having virtually no consumer-facing presence stateside, Tencent, Baidu, and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing each have labs located in the United States, where staff of all nationalities conduct AI research.