Artificial Iintelligence (AI) centre to open despite the fact that its search services remain blocked in the country after the best part of a decade.

The subsidiary of Alphabet will build the new AI research facility in the city of Shanghai. The project is to be headed up Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist of AI and machine learning at Google Cloud, and who is also a professor at Stanford University.

According to Google, the facility would be the first its kind in Asia and would aim to employ as much local talent as possible. That part at least is hardly surprising. China is home to many of the world’s top experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning. And by way of example, writing in a Google blog, Li pointed to the fact that all three winning teams of the ImageNet Challenge in the past three years were comprised mainly of Chinese researchers. 

Google To Open Chinese AI Research Lab In China

New AI research facility to open in China, inspite of Google search being removed from the country.

AI has no borders

China has been also been expanding its influence into artificial intelligence in recent times. In July, China announced a national plan for AI, calling for the country to catch up and overtake the current world leader, the US.

“Humanity is going through a huge transformation thanks to the phenomenal growth of computing and digitization,” Li states in her blog post. “As technology starts to shape human life in more profound ways, we will need to work together to ensure that the AI of tomorrow benefits all of us. The Google AI China Center is a small contribution to this goal. We look forward to working with the brightest AI researchers in China to help find solutions to the world’s problems. Once again, the science of AI has no borders, neither do its benefits.”

Great Firewall

The move by Google into China however has led some human rights groups to voice their concerns, Many are already troubled by the fact that China’s Great Firewall blocks almost all outside internet access to it citizens and it web services are highly censored. China has also been widely accused of using its booming AI research sector to monitor its citizens. 

The Chinese centre joins other research groups in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich, will fund and sponsor AI conferences and workshops, collaborating with the Chinese AI research community.

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