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The Beijing Artificial Intelligence Center is Google’s first such facility in Asia, according to the company’s blog . The search engine group has so far operated similar research facilities in cities such as New York, Toronto, London and Zurich. China, however, is taking on a pioneering role in AI research. According to Google, 43 of the 100 most important publications in this field were authored by Chinese scientists the year before last. As an "AI first company", Google is drawn to where the best specialists are based: "We want to work with the best AI talent, wherever it is," says Fei-Fei Li, Head of AI Research at Google.

As the rapid development of artificial intelligence-based technologies has also given rise to fears, Google, along with Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, founded the Partnership on AI initiative last year, which aims to promote social dialogue. Google is also involved in the non-profit research organization OpenAI , which Tesla CEO Elon Musk launched in late 2015. He in turn appears to have given up his previous AI skepticism .