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Amazon to Open AI Research Center in Germany

Amazon.com will soon open a research center that focuses on artificial intelligence in Germany in support to the efforts of the country’s Max Planck Society’s efforts to create the world leading hub for AI around Stuttgart and Tübingen.
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Robotic arm and natural human arm shaking hands in front of a background of tall buildings.

Amazon.com will soon open a research center that focuses on artificial intelligence in Germany in support to the efforts of the country’s Max Planck Society’s efforts to create the world leading hub for AI around Stuttgart and Tübingen.

Cyber Valley, the hub launched last December after the Max Planck Society, two technical universities and the Baden-Württemberg worked together with six leading companies that involved Facebook, BMW, and car parts dealer ZF in order to merge academic and industry research so that artificial intelligence may move forward.

Body Labs, an AI human modeling start-up that scans human bodies and create digital replicas out of them which was acquired by Amazon this month, stated that other than joining the initiative, it would also open a research center in Tübingen and will be able to create 100 jobs dedicated to expanding research with AI within the next 5 years.

Amazon’s director of machine, Ralf Herbrich, stated that the Amazon Research Center will mean that the company will be “one of the largest research partnerships in Europe in the field of artificial intelligence.”

“[Amazon] sees this is a major hub being established in Europe, a special industry environment coming up. It tells me that in this very competitive field, we have achieved quite some standing,” said Max Planck Society president, Martin Stratmann.

Amazon, as well as other involved partners, will make a contribution of €1.25 million for the construction of new research groups in the surrounding area. The company also agreed to pay €420,000 annually to offer sponsorship to doctoral and post-doctoral students, as well as sponsoring two “distinguished Amazon scholars” – co-founder of Body Labs, Michael J Black, and a leading scientist in the machine learning field, Bernard Schölkopf.

“Medicine, science, engineering, it changes everything,” Stratmann said, pointing out that no one can really say what artificial intelligence will bring in the coming decades. “We are living in times of revolutionary change for science and technology.”

AI: Need Better Regulation?

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An illustration about artificial intelligence.

Even though some people are deciding to invest for the further advancement of artificial intelligence, there are still people out there that are scared of the possibility that artificially intelligent robots might take over the world someday.

These people include tech-industry billionaire, founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon-Musk, as well as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. They are pushing for the proper regulation of artificial intelligence technology in order for risks to be managed.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg disagree with the above statement. They instead say that technology is still far from being advanced enough for these worries to have appropriate basis.

Today, researchers are already subjected to existing rules, regulations, and laws – which impose further limitations on risks, reducing possible innovations with AI systems – that are designed with the public safety in mind.

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