Google to open China AI research hub

Google announced on Wednesday that it will open a new artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in Beijing, tapping China's talent pool in the promising technology, despite the United States search giant's exclusion from the country's internet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted in September that whoever becomes the leader in artificial intelligence "will become the ruler of the world". "The science of AI has no borders, neither do its benefits".

AI companies in China suck up personal data from the massive population and use it to train machine-learning algorithms - but Google, locked out of the internet there, has little user data to pull from in the country.

Google said in a statement that the research centre was the first of its kind in Asia and would comprise a small team operating out of its existing office in Beijing.

S.Korea's Moon visits China to discuss Pyongyang
Kim was addressing a rare munitions conference on Monday to laud the North's latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). China's sanctions against South Korea also hit the country's tourism industry which had relied on visitors from its neighbor.

The search giant today said it's opening a research center in China, several months after it was advertising to hire AI and machine learning experts there. A company spokesperson says the lab will focus on general-purpose research in the field, rather than product development.

"Chinese authors contributed 43% of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015", Li Fei-Fei, a researcher leading the new centre, wrote in a blog post on Google's website. The researchers will also work with other Google AI researchers around the world, including London, Zurich, Toronto and NY. She will lead the China-based team alongside Jia Li, who was hired from Snap where she had been head of research at the same time as Li. The announcement comes despite Google's products remain blocked in the country. So the center wants to do its best to organize events and workshops in China to tap into this talent.

The tech giant has many employees in China who work on its worldwide services. "As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission".

Earlier in December, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, appeared at a conference run by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top cyber regulator, where he steered away from market access issues to discuss the potential of AI. It faces considerable competition for talent from the likes of Baidu Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which are all focused in advancing their AI capabilities as well.

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