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article imageSamsung to build new lab for machine learning research

By James Walker     Nov 23, 2017 in Technology
Samsung's announced a new research centre to focus on developing artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company's current AI capabilities are perceived to be behind its rivals, a weakness Samsung is working hard to address.
Samsung made the announcement in a Korean press release this week. The company told Reuters it will be operating the research lab as a joint venture between two of its businesses. Samsung's mobile and consumer electronics arms will both use the facility to help develop new technologies.
Samsung's use of AI was fairly limited until earlier this year. The launch of the company's Bixby digital assistant marked Samsung's intentions to gain a position in consumer AI, an increasingly competitive segment of the technology market. Although Bixby hasn't surpassed rivals such as Siri and Google Assistant, Samsung's set a rapid development pace and is already talking about its ambitions for the platform.
The new AI research centre will help Samsung to gain expertise in AI as it expands Bixby and its other products. AI's becoming an important component of smartphones that's used to power apps, improve security and boost performance. Some recent handsets have begun to include dedicated AI co-processor chips, a trend Samsung could jump on with next year's Galaxy S9.
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The company's already acknowledged rumours that AI will be a major selling point of its next-generation mobile products. The Galaxy S9 is currently shaping up to be an iterative enhancement of this year's S8, with much of Samsung's development concentrated on a new software experience. Proactive assistance and AI-powered convenience features will account for several of the new capabilities, requiring research that may be undertaken at the lab.
Samsung's announcement comes just a couple of months after it unveiled an AI research facility in Montreal, Canada. The company's staffing that location with Korean and Canadian students under a partnership with the University of Montreal. It's focused on technologies including automation and computer vision so it shouldn't overlap with the new location.
Samsung's not stated where the next lab will be located or how many people will work in it. The company said it's also planning a minor strategic change to its business structure that will allow it to "quickly respond to market changes." Samsung wants to be seen as an agile and versatile company, capable of building whatever the tech market demands. Right now, that's AI-powered features and ever more powerful smartphone hardware.
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