Head of R&D of Google Cloud AI Jia Li has left her position with the company. Li informed Synced in a text message yesterday and the Google team confirmed her departure this morning.
An Adjunct Professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine and a widely respected AI researcher, Li told Synced “I’m now pursuing the impact of AI for good in healthcare and working full-time at Stanford University’s AIMI (Center for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine & Imaging). In healthcare, I am interested in how AI can improve the outcomes of individual patients as well as hospitals.”
Chinese media is reporting that Li will start her own AI company with the aim of bringing machine learning solutions to the healthcare industry; and that a number of leading global venture capitals are interested. Li has not commented on the reports.
Before joining Google Cloud AI in 2016, Li was Head of Research at tech and social media company Snap. Prior to that she led the Yahoo! Lab Visual Computing and Learning Group.
Li received her PhD from the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, where she was apprenticed to former Chief AI Scientist of Google Cloud and Stanford University Professor Fei-Fei Li.
During her three years with Google, Jia Li advanced the implementation of AI-enabled products on the Google Cloud Platform. One standout achievement is AutoML, a set of tools launched earlier this year that enables developers with limited machine learning expertise to train high quality models.
Since Google’s search service was prohibited in the Chinese mainland in 2010 the company has been seeking the opportunity to return to the promising market. Top level female Chinese AI talents Fei-fei Li and Jia Li represented a new face of globalism and diversity for Google, and played a bridging role in helping rebuild the company’s image and presence in China.
In May 2017 Google sibling DeepMind brought its AlphaGo bot to the historic city of Wuzhen for a showdown against human №1 Go player Ke Jie that was watched around the world (AlphaGo won). A few months later Google created a China-based TensorFlow team to expand its influence in the local machine learning community.
Last December Google launched the Google China AI Center in Beijing with Jia Li as its head. There is no word yet regarding her possible successor.
In her message to Synced Li wrote that her goal going forward is to “do something with real world impact.” Li is currently teaching a course called AI-Assisted Care at Stanford School of Medicine and Computer Science.