Google Plans to Open Artificial Intelligence Centre in China

By Faith Magbanua, December 14, 2017 19:12 PM

(Google plans to open artificial intelligence centre 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.

According to Google, it said that the center for AI in China would be the first of its kind in Asia. In addition to that, the facility also aims to employ local talent. Silicon Valley is focusing heavily on the future applications for AI.

On the other hand, it seems like China has also indicated a strong support for AI development and catching up with the US on the research.

The study regarding artificial intelligence has the potential to improve a vast spectrum of technologies, from self-driving cars and automated factories to translation products and facial recognition software.

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".

"Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, [AI] has the potential to make everyone's life better for the entire world," said Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist at Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning.

The research facility, which joins similar research centers in London, New York, Toronto and Zurich, will be run by a small team from its existing office in Beijing.

However, there are stern set of rules to be followed.

The tech giant operates two offices in China, with roughly half of its 600 employees working on global products, according to its company spokesperson, but Google's search engine and a number of other services are banned in China.

The country has imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign companies over the past year, including new censorship restrictions.

For starters, it is known that for many years now, China has censored any content it sees as politically sensitive, using an increasingly sophisticated set of filters that critics have called the "great firewall".

At the same time, China has been expanding its push into artificial intelligence.

However, just last week, the country's President, Xi Jinping, urged senior officials at a key Communist Party meeting to "accelerate implementation of big data" and in July, China announced its national plan for AI, calling for the country to catch up with the US.

But its advances in this area have sparked concerns. Human rights groups are among those troubled by China's use of artificial intelligence to monitor its own citizens.

Addressing the meeting of Communist Party officials late last week, President Xi reportedly emphasized "the necessity of using big data to improve governance".

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