Samsung Electronics recently opened an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in New York. It is the fifth AI institute established overseas by the company, with previous ones opened in Silicon Valley and at England’s University of Cambridge. LG has similarly been competing to establish its own overseas AI institutes, including one early last month in Toronto. Observers are taking note of the two companies’ differing strategies, with Samsung advocating the creation of an independent AI ecosystem and LG favoring an open ecosystem.
On September 7, Samsung Electronics opened an AI research center in New York, announcing plans to conduct research chiefly in the area of AI-based robotics. The center’s director is vice president Daniel Lee, an authority in the field of AI robotics who came on board last June. AI robotics involves the combination of AI software with robot hardware, introducing AI capabilities to drones, healthcare equipment, and industrial robots to provide them with smart functions.
Samsung and LG AI research centers
The full-scale push by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics to build overseas AI institutes began earlier this year. After opening a general South Korean AI center last November in Seoul’s Umyeon neighborhood, Samsung Electronics set up its first overseas AI research center in January in Silicon Valley. In May, it opened another three global AI research centers in succession at Cambridge and in Toronto and Moscow. LG Electronics, which opened its own AI institute in Toronto in early August, has an AI research organization spanning Seoul, Silicon Valley, Bangalore, and Moscow.
What those regions have in common is their outstanding AI research capabilities. New York is a hub city on the US East Coast that is located near many universities strong in AI research, including Cornell and Princeton; Silicon Valley is a place of origin for global information and communications companies with a high concentration of AI-related researchers and startups. Toronto is a backdrop for intensive, chiefly university-based AI research, with AI research centers for Google, Nvidia, and other global businesses and active support from the Canadian government. Moscow is also a hotbed of AI research with particular strength in basic sciences.
Both Samsung and LG are hoping to see AI ushering a revival to their stagnant home appliance and smartphone industries. At international appliance fairs in cities like Las Vegas and Berlin, both companies have set up displays with TVs, washing machines, and refrigerators organically linked through AI framework. Samsung Electronics plans to invest a total of 25 trillion won (USD 22 billion) in four designated future growth projects, including automotive electronics, bio, and 5G in addition to AI. LG Electronics is also channeling focused investment into AI, automotive electronics, and robots as key future projects. Both are cases of preemptive investment in AI as the future brains and nerves not only in the field of appliances, but also transportation, cities, and industry.
There are differences in approach. Samsung Electronics is focusing on building its own independent AI ecosystem centering on its own Bixby AI voice recognition platform, while LG Electronics has adopted an open ecosystem strategy incorporating other platforms like Google Assistant.
“Samsung and LG may have different strategies, but they’re both staking everything on AI,” said one appliance industry source. “Since each region has a different language and culture, the AI research is different for each base region,” the source added. – Hankyoreh