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Google AI Businesses China The Almighty Buck

Google Has a New Plan for China (and It's Not About Search) (bloomberg.com) 59

An anonymous reader shares a report: More than seven years after exiting China, Google is taking the boldest steps yet to come back. And it's not with a search engine. Instead, Google's ingress is centered around artificial intelligence. The internet giant is actively promoting TensorFlow, software that makes it easier to build AI systems, as a way to forge business ties in the world's largest online market, according to people familiar with the company's plans. It's a wide pitch targeting China's academics and tech titans. At the same time, Google parent Alphabet Inc. is adding more personnel to scour Chinese companies for potential AI investments, these people said. "China is a tremendous opportunity for any company because it is by far the single largest homogeneous market," said Kai Fu Lee, who headed Google's China operations before the company left in 2010. The market dwarfs any other, given how many Chinese people are online, and data from that "can be used to advance products, especially those relating to artificial intelligence," he added.
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Google Has a New Plan for China (and It's Not About Search)

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Unlike the US, the Chinese were blown away by AlphaGo's win against KeJie. Go is not widely played but universally known as a tough and tricky game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It isn't that impressive. Go is a game played with strict rules. Computers LOVE rules. They excel at anything that has a strict rule set. That is what they are best at. Why would it be a surprise that a computer can win at ANY game? They can win any game you invent.
      • Sounds like TensorFlow will love supporting the Chinese version of Communism and controlling all their serfs.

      • by AC-x ( 735297 )

        Go is a game played with strict rules. Computers LOVE rules.

        Go is a game with a huge search space. Computers HATE huge search spaces.

        • Computers HATE huge search spaces.

          Until their processors grow large enough to deal with them. That is just an evolutionary problem.

          AI won't be revolutionary until it can deal with the exact opposite kind of problem; where rules CANNOT be explicitly defined.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            AI can handle any situation where you have some input and you want specific output and you can somehow tell if the output is correct or not. That is the only rule the computers need. Typical example is where input is an image and output is text describing what object is in the image.

            What is interesting in AI is that lately they have used AI to decide if the output is correct or not and thus running an AI against AI. This has made it possible to generate AI that can draw realistic birds based on text descrip

            • Yet they say AI can do important things such as driving, where there is never a correct answer. Or at the very least there will be conflicting correct answers. If an AI drives through a construction site because its map said to follow the road, is it correct?
          • Re:AlphaGo (Score:4, Insightful)

            by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @09:36AM (#55463155)

            Until their processors grow large enough to deal with them. That is just an evolutionary problem

            The search space for Go is estimated at 10^170. If the world's fastest supercomputer could check one move every operation (93 PFLOPS) it would take 3.4*0^145 years to exhaustively solve it (at which point most physical objects will have decayed to subatomic particles).

            The fact that a relatively modest computer has beaten a human at Go today is impressive.

            • The computer doesn't have to see everything, it just has to see further than the human. The fact that it can is not a surprise at all.
              • by AC-x ( 735297 )

                With a branching factor of 235 per move (7x more than Chess) and a large typical lookahead by human players, even that's difficult.

                There is a reason why a computer beating a top human Go player was considered a big deal...

        • No they don't. Computers LOVE huge search spaces. Human brains don't. You are confused.
          • by AC-x ( 735297 )

            The technically correct answer is computers WILL SIT THERE AND TRY huge search spaces, but human brains will HATE waiting forever for the answer.

            • by WallyL ( 4154209 )

              That sounds like a great article heading: "Your human brain will HATE waiting forever for the computer to provide this answer..."

      • They can win any game you invent.

        They still suck at bridge, because players have to infer so much. Yes, Go is different because there's complete information, but what's really impressive about the Go dominance is that it came so suddenly. Before Alpha Go no program could challenge even strong club players, and the approach to playing like chess is a failure at Go. Amazingly, the difference in strength between the computer and top human is now much greater in Go than it is in chess.

        • The ruleset is 1/10 the size in Go as it is with Chess with the only problem being the size of the search space. So what you say isn't really a surprise at all. You pick a game with simple rules and figure out how to deal with the search space, you excel much faster.
        • If some smart programmers put effort into it they could eventually create a bridge playing program that would win. Playing games isn't AI.
          • Wrong again. When you have small game with all search space, then no AI. When it is bigger than what computer can do in time, than all you can use is AI.
          • Playing games isn't AI.

            AlphaGo doesn't just play games, it also teaches itself how to play. The version of AlphaGo that beat Lee Sedol used a dataset of human games to train itself. But the latest version uses no human input other than the rules. It taught itself from scratch, learning not only strategy, but also rediscovering "joseki" tactics, and then going on to discover new tactics that humans never learned. It then beat Ke Jie, widely considered the world's strongest player.

            After his 0-3 defeat by AlphaGo, Ke Jie studie

      • All games have rules. The more rules, the smaller the search space. Go is much harder for computers than chess due to it's simplicity and ability to set the board size bigger.
  • ...with a vengeance!
    • They're back with a vengeance until a Chinese government official (or group of them) invests in a competitor...at which point google will get run out of town again. Someone's gotta keep all that bitcoin flowing out of the country so it can get converted to proper currency and deposited in banks outside of China....

  • More AI hype. Next thing you know they will be naming hard drives "AI" because it is so cool and trendy. AI is the next VR.
    • >AI is the next VR.

      VR should definitely go away until we can produce a direct neural interface (I don't see solid holograms and force fields ever being a thing, so no holodecks for us).

      On the other hand, I'm quite enthusiastic about AR. I already wear glasses anyway, and would not mind a computer generated overlay for reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This time, we don't censor results. We just sell an AI that will censor instead.
    capcha: predicts

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2017 @07:11AM (#55462427) Journal
    In its best light, the domestic Chinese market is protectionist and prone to imitation beyond the scope of copyright enforcement.

    Alphabet must now believe they can make inroads to a worthwhile share of the admittedly gigantic market without ultimately losing their technology to domestic companies.

    So the $64,000 Question is, "What sort of arrangement can they (have they) made with Chinese officials that leads them to believe Lucy won't pull the football away at the last second?"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tensorflow is open source. Can you send my $64,000 to my email please. See info from my profile.

  • Because of the money communist slave labor doesn't have that they want.

    I am all for making money. But not at the expense of victims of communism.

  • Tiananmen Square, 1989 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    89 student movement, 89 student strike, 89 people's movement.. all the people topple communism, impose martial law, Tiananmen Mothers movement, Victoria Park, Operation Yellowbird https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]..
    A search engine that fails to search :)

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