Chinese AI unicorn SenseTime teams up with MIT

SenseTime expects the collaboration with the leading US university will further lift its capability in human and machine intelligence.

SenseTime, a leading Chinese startup specialized in artificial intelligence (AI) research and development, has established an alliance with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to promote the further application of the technology widely utilized in facial recognition.

The Chinese AI researcher and developer, currently valued at around $3 billion, said the cooperation aims to explore new avenues across MIT in areas like computer vision, human-intelligence inspired algorithms, medical imaging, and robotics.

Tang Xiao'ou, a founder of SenseTime who is also a PhD '96 MIT alumnus specialized in computer vision and deep learning, said he expects the cooperation between the world's best and brightest talents will further promote AI's development and benefit society.

Founded in 2014, the Chinese startup is currently working with a number of well-known Chinese brands including China Mobile, UnionPay, Sina Weibo, as well as major smartphone companies in China to provide machine learning technology.

SenseTime's advanced facial recognition expertise has also helped attract leading investments from Qualcomm and CDH Investments.

The company raised $410 million in July last year and was also eyeing to raise $500 million in what would be the largest ever fundraising of an AI startup, according to a Reuters report in November.

Bloomberg also reported in late November that Alibaba Group was in discussions to invest $227 million in SenseTime and looking to become the largest stakeholder of the company.

MIT said in a press release that the university has been at the frontier of intelligence research since the 1950s and had pushed several advances subsequently, from neutral networks to data encryption, quantum computing, and crowdsourcing.

The Chinese company is also the first company to join a new institute-wide initiative, the MIT Intelligence Quest, launched in early February which aims to advance research into human and machine intelligence in service to all humanity, according to the release.

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