Google will launch an AI research center in China

Google will launch an AI research center in China

Google is to launch an Artificial Intelligence research centre in China.

Recently, in a blog post on the company's website, Google stated that the new research center was an important part of its mission as an "AI first company". 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. While this move is not as much a reversal of policy as something like bringing the Google Play Store to China, or even having Google.cn not automatically forward you to the Hong Kong variant, it is a clear sign that Google has not been blind to China's growth as a tech powerhouse.

Of all the fields that Alphabet - Google's parent company - has been focusing on lately, it's made some of the most progress in AI. It will be helmed by Jia Li, head of research and development at Google Cloud AI, and Fei-fei Li, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab and a chief scientist at Google Cloud AI.

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Seven years ago, Google pulled a few of its core services out of China, at the time saying it felt the government's surveillance and censorship didn't align with its commitment to a free and open internet. With this initiative, Google plans to hire more Chinese researchers. There are also 20 new roles to fill in Beijing following this announcement, and Google is making funding available to fund local AI conferences and workshops as well as sponsoring interesting projects and further research. "And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it". By opening a lab in Beijing, Google is merely following this trend in reverse, chasing the talent where it lies.

This will mark as the company's first such AI facility in Asia, after the ones in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.

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