Baidu jumpstarts AI programme with appointment of ex-Microsoft exec

Baidu jumpstarts AI programme with appointment of ex-Microsoft exec

Chinese search giant Baidu is seeking to jumpstart its artificial intelligence research program with the appointment of a former Microsoft executive with a specialism in the field.

Qi Lu led Microsoft’s own AI unit for Office, Bing and Skype while serving as executive vice president until his departure last September and will now be tasked with developing that field for his new employers.

Baidu has been forced to reappraise its search engine business following the implementation of new advertising regulations which saw it shed 16% of its ad customers in the third quarter of 2016.

In a sign of how seriously Baidu is treating AI research, the firm allocated $200m to set up a fund for AI, augmented reality and deep learning research, with an additional $3bn made available to mid and late stage startups.

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