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Huawei has pumped $1 million in funding into a basic research partnership with the University of California in Berkeley with the goal of advancing artificial intelligence.

The partnership will bring together Huawei’s AI researchers and the Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab to collaborate across machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and robotics.

The goal is to put those AI concepts into real-world application and develop key technologies out of theoretical models. It appears, then, that their ambition is simple rather than lofty: create AI systems that have practical application to the society instead of building the most intelligent machine.

The two parties believe that this strategic partnership will fuel the advancement of AI technology and create completely new experiences for people, thus contributing greatly to society at large.

Huawei did not say where it particularly plans to apply the advancements resulting from the AI research. With digital assistant technology growing in popularity, Huawei is likely to be getting in on the act by introducing AI features to its line of mobile devices.

Samsung has already joined the fray when it announced the acquisition of Viv Labs, a startup company founded by the creators of Siri.

Although quite late, Huawei’s move signals the company’s ambition to make inroads in an area already dominated by Google, which recently launched Allo and Google Assistant, and Apple, whose Siri is already a household name in the virtual assistant space.

It would be interesting to see how Huawei plans to gain traction in the personal assistant arena, where users already have plenty of options. The least it can do with the UC Berkeley partnership is to test the waters. Do you think Huawei can succeed? Share your thoughts below.

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