Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more.
Tech giants are pouring money into artificial intelligence. Baidu and Google spent between $20 and $30 billion on AI in 2016 alone, according to research from McKinsey. In Google’s case, a portion of that investment went to AI centers in China and France, and the Mountain View company shows no signs of slowing down. Today, Google announced its next AI research center will be in Accra, Ghana.
“In recent years, we’ve … witnessed an increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent,” senior Google AI fellow Jeff Dean and staff research scientist Moustapha Cisse wrote in a blog post. “Events like Data Science Africa 2017 in Tanzania, the 2017 Deep Learning Indaba event in South Africa, and follow-on IndabaX events in 2018 in multiple countries have shown an exciting and continuing growth of the computer science research community in Africa.”
Google said that employees in the new AI center, which will open later this year, will work closely with local universities, other research centers, and policymakers on the potential uses of AI in Africa. This is Google’s first center devoted solely to AI research in Africa and, as far as we can tell, the first from any tech giant (beating Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft to the punch).
“[W]e’re excited to combine our research interests in AI and machine learning and our experience in Africa to push the boundaries of AI while solving challenges in areas such as health care, agriculture, and education,” Cisse and Dean wrote.
The Google AI Center in Accra expands on Google’s efforts in the region. The company said 10 million Africans have completed its digital skills training program, and Launchpad Accelerator Africa, its tech startup incubator, is actively supporting 100,000 developers across 60 companies.
Google isn’t the only one investing in AI programs abroad. Early in 2018, Samsung announced the opening of new research centers in Toronto; Moscow; and Cambridge, England. Ecommerce company Etsy said it would open AI R&D offices in Toronto by the end of this year. And in January, Google and Facebook pledged to expand their AI investment in France.
VentureBeatVentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
- up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
- our newsletters
- gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform
- networking features, and more