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Google warming up to China again, announces new AI center

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 announcement comes despite the fact that Google's search engine, app store, email and cloud storage services are all banned in China, as part of the country's restrictions on foreign media and internet platforms that aim to block influences that contravene socialist ideas.

Bolstering its status as an AI first company, Google has opened machine learning research labs around the world in recent years. This is why, seven years ago, Google drastically slashed its business interests in China, even threatening to leave the country entirely: Chinese censorship and government control simply went against the values of Google as an entity, and Google wouldn't play ball.

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.

"I believe AI and its benefits have no borders".




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

"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. So the center wants to do its best to organize events and workshops in China to tap into this talent.

In academia, meanwhile, China has a presence in AI research that's impossible to ignore. With this initiative, Google plans to hire more Chinese researchers.

Despite having virtually no consumer-facing presence stateside, Tencent, Baidu, and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing each have labs located in the USA, where staff of all nationalities conduct AI research.

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