By Paul Chung
Image credit: Wired
When Baidu first planted a seed in Google‘s backyard a few months ago, it obviously wanted to tap into the abundant wealth of knowledge and high-tech professionals in California’s Silicon Valley corridor: the fertile environment of high-tech innovation.
‘China’s Google’ is eagerly expanding its presence in the United States once again.
Last week, the Chinese web giant opened a brand new artificial intelligence laboratory located across the street from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino and a short drive away from the Googleplex in Mountain View. The mission of Baidu’s Institute of Deep Learning (IDL) is to research and design cutting-edge machine-learning technology.
Several leading Silicon Valley firms, including Apple (Siri voice recognition technology) and Google (Street View function on Google Maps), have already pioneered early models of the “deep learning” technology. It’s very possible, however, that Baidu is primarily interested in mimicking the technology of its American rivals. We hope not! There’s been enough accusations of economic espionage this year already.
According to Wired:
In late January, word arrived that the Chinese search giant was setting up a research lab dedicated to “deep learning” — an emerging computer science field that seeks to mimic the human brain with hardware and software — and as it turns out, this lab includes an operation here in Silicon Valley, not far from Apple headquarters, in addition to a facility back in China. The company just hired its first researcher in Cupertino, with plans to bring in several more by the end of the year.
The opening of Baidu’s new artificial intelligence research center comes at a time when Chinese companies are fiercely developing high-tech technologies, oftentimes directly competing (and sometimes cooperating) with highly respected global tech giants. Last year, Shanghai Zhizhen Network Technology Company sued Apple over its Siri patent.