Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc said on Wednesday that it will open a new state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) center in China. This will be one of its kind AI center run by Google in entire Asia. It will conduct similar research work in AI as is being conducted at Google’s other AI centers in cities like New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.
Google’s parent company said that this center is going to be operated by locally hired talents who will operate from firm’s existing Beijing office.
This new Chinese center will add another chapter to Google’s push to apply AI’s breakthrough technology into various facets of human life. From self-driving car, cloud computing, mobile operating system to space research, the search giant is going full throttle in its exciting quest to explore AI’s potential.
China will also stand to benefit from this initiative, especially when the country’s communist government is more than willing to take a big leap in AI. Earlier this year, China unveiled its national policy for AI, urging the country’s tech community to catch up with the U.S. Although big Chinese companies like Baidu and Tencent are operating their own AI research, the country is believed to be still lagging behind the U.S. and other western countries.
China’s AI push, however, has raised level of panic at many quarters. Many human right experts have expressed genuine fear that the Chinese government may use AI’s potential to monitor its citizens. The Asian giant holds notorious track record in human rights and internet censorship.
China’s strict internet censorship has led to the ouster of many well-known products run by several tech giants including Google. For instance, Google search is been banned in China for well over seven years now. Other global internet products like Facebook and Twitter are also banned in the country. But such is the irresistible lure of the Chinese market that Google and Facebook are leaving no stone unturned in making a possible comeback into China. This is reflected by the fact that both companies’ respective CEOs make regular trips to China in an apparent attempt to appease the Chinese leadership.
Only time will tell whether these efforts will succeed or not, but Google’s decision to zero on China for its first Asian AI center yet again shows the irresistible pull of Chinese market.