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Beijing — Google announced on Wednesday that it will open a new artificial intelligence (AI) research centre in Beijing, tapping China’s talent pool in the promising technology, despite the US search giant’s exclusion from the country’s internet. AI, especially machine-learning, has been an area of intense focus for American tech stalwarts Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and their Chinese competitors Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, as they bid to master what many consider the future of computing. AI research has the potential to boost developments in self-driving cars and automated factories, translation products and facial-recognition software, among other innovations. Google’s move to open a Beijing office focused on fundamental research is an indication of China’s AI talent, widely seen as being neck and neck with the US in research capability. "Chinese authors contributed 43% of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015," Li Fei-Fei, a researcher leading the new centre, wrote i...

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