China is coming along in leaps and bounds when it comes to the development of artificial intelligence (AI). It’s clear to see how much the country wants to become a global leader in the AI industry. And, if investors such as Google keep climbing on board to help this acceleration, they may well do it.
Internet search giant Google has now launched its dedicated Beijing-based AI research lab and already has some staff to help run it. However, at least another 20 vacancies are listed at the moment. “We need to recognize the opportunity and leadership that China has already displayed in the area of technology and AI,” said Fei-Fei Li, Google Cloud executive and co-head of the lab. “By opening a lab here, we come here to extend our hand out, and show this part of the world we would like to listen to them, work with them.” Google has yet to comment as to how big it intends the lab to become.
Since 2010, Google has been blocked in China as it refused to give in to government censorship requests. But that’s caused issues when offering other services such as Google Cloud or smartphones that are set up to work with Google. Both countries are trying hard to accelerate the advancement of AI, so it makes sense that they should join forces.
Yu Kai is a member of China’s AI strategic advisory board. He says that China is already home to the some of the world’s most talented AI specialists, and that will continue to grow now thanks to the country’s big push in AI development.
Between April and September this year, US companies invested more than $1.3 billion in hiring top AI talent. Google was the fourth largest recruiter in this field, coming in close behind the usual suspects: Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp., and Apple Inc. Google is hoping the launch of the new AI lab will attract more AI talent to the business.
As the race to become the leading country for AI development, China will soon to follow in the footsteps of the US. It is now a national priority for China to use AI to improve various areas including national security, health, and education. Four of the country’s top businesses either already have or are making plans to build research labs in the US. Those four companies are: Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu Inc., Iflytek Co., and Tencent Holdings.