Google AI chief scientist calls China an 'important country' for AI

Updated 2017-12-20 12:39:52 Xinhua

"China is a rising country of AI work and research," said Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence (AI)and Machine Learning (ML) at Google Cloud, calling for enhanced AI cooperation between major countries.

Li made the remarks in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua at Google's Beijing office. Just last week, Li announced that Google would launch a new AI research center in Beijing, as part of its AI First strategy.

WHY GOOGLE AI CHINA CENTER?

When asked what prompted Google to make the decision to open its center in the Chinese capital, Li said: "We all recognize the importance of China because of its talent, because of the incredible creativity and innovation that are already going on here."

The Google AI China Center, the first of its kind in Asia, will primarily focus on basic AI research.

"We've seen China is paying a lot of attention to AI in terms of research, entrepreneurship, usage in industry as well as government support," Li said, noting that the Chinese government issued a plan for the development of "the new generation of AI" in July, and recently announced a three-year action plan.

"China is really a rising major country, with more prominent global responsibility in technology, politics and culture," said the leading AI expert, adding that promoting cooperation between major countries will bring "extraordinary benefits" for all human beings.

She acknowledged that AI is viewed by some as a new source of compeition between countries. However, as a scientist, Li said she believes science has no national boundary, and she hopes to see more cooperation and communication across borders.

Li also noted there is a shortage worldwide for AI talents, no matter in the United States or China.

"I hope to mobilize global talents to participate in the research of AI because it's such an important science and technology field," she said.

When asked about the potential for women in the field, the female scientist said more work is needed. "AI will change the world, but who will change AI? We want AI to be more inclusive and diverse."

HISTORIC MOMENT: FROM LAB TO INDUSTRY

Li, who is also the Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, has made a successful transition from academics.

"I've seen the historical moment AI is going through: it has stepped out of the lab and has entered the stage of industrial application," she told Xinhua.

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