Google's Return to China Foretells a Global Race to Deliver AI

Google to open AI centre in China

The country has imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign companies over the past year, including new censorship restrictions. According to a report from Bloomberg, the Google AI China Center will consist of "a small group of researchers supported by several hundred China-based engineers". It's also why access to Google's most popular services are for the most part blocked in China.

The multi-billion-dollar technology company Google is planning to broaden its horizons by deepening its push into artificial intelligence (AI) with the help of a research facility they opened in China even though its search services remains blocked in the country.

The lab will be similar to other facilities in London, Toronto, New York and Zurich.

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.

The Google AI China Center will also support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, and working closely with the vibrant Chinese AI research community. In July, Beijing launched a directive called the "Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan", which outlines a policy plan to turn China into a "primary innovation center" for AI by 2030. All three winning teams of the ImageNet Challenge in the past three years have been largely composed of Chinese researchers.

"Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone's life better for the entire world", Fei-Fei Li, Google's head of AI for its cloud computing business, said in a blog post. "Chinese authors contributed 43 percent of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015".

In its blog Google has shared that opening this new research centre has a very crucial role to play in its journwy of becoming the first AI company.

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