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Google's AI cloud star leaves after Pentagon deal protests

13 September, 2018, 17:40 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Carnegie Mellon’s Andrew Moore to join Google Cloud as new head of AI later this year

Dr. Fei-Fei Li will be replaced at the end of the year as head of Google Cloud AI by Dr. Andrew Moore, dean of the school of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, Google announced on Monday.

Li was instrumental in the establishment of an AI research lab in Beijing, as part of the firm's efforts to regain a foothold in China since it removed its search service eight years ago. Li had never relinquished her position as head of AI at Stanford and she is returning to this post full-time.

Moore is a Google veteran and worked for the company from 2006 to 2014 as a director in the Pittsburgh office then vice president of engineering for Google Commerce.

Diane greene
Greg Sandoval Business Insider Diane Greene Google Cloud CEO

In early June, Google retreated from a Pentagon cloud contract following employee protests. In internal e-mails, Li praised the contract but cautioned colleagues to avoid mentioning the AI component of the deal for fear that the public would latch onto concern about "weaponised" AI. These plans have also sparked internal debate, and criticism by some USA politicians. "We are proud that Fei-Fei will be returning to Stanford to continue her leadership in the field of AI in the academic environment, and we're thrilled that we will still be able to continue to work with her as an advisor". Many of these offerings built on Li's specialty in computer vision, giving machines the ability to recognise and process images at tremendous speed.

"We believe that if we can get every developer in the world using AI in great ways, we can spur innovation that will benefit everyone", wrote Diane Greene, Google Cloud's CEO, in a blog post. In the announcement of the opening of the China center, Fei-Fei Li said China had many world-class AI and machine learning experts and more than 40 percent of top 100 AI papers in 2015 were published by Chinese researchers.


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