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Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong meets AI experts

Posted November. 07, 2019 07:21,   

Updated November. 07, 2019 07:21


“We should go beyond the limitations of thoughts and gain a competitive edge in the future in order to realize bigger dreams,“ stressed Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong while discussing the roadmap for the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with global AI experts, including Montreal University Professor Yoshua Bengio and Princeton University Professor Sebastian Seung at the Samsung AI Forum 2019 on Wednesday.

AI is one of Samsung’s next-generation areas of focus Vice Chairman Lee often highlights when talking about the future of the tech company. Since his return to Samsung last year, Lee identified three areas of focus including AI applicable to cell phones, home appliances, and cars, 5G mobile communication network, and system semiconductor, expanding investment in those areas.

Professor Bengio is a prestigious AI scientist, leading the research in deep learning. He is considered one of the top four AI gurus in the world, along with Toronto University Professor Geoffrey Hinton, New York University Professor Yann LeCun, and Stanford University Professor Andrew Ng. Having earned a reputation in deep neural network for next-generation speech recognition and learning algorithm, Bengio won the 2018 Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize of computing.” Unlike the current level of voice recognition, where AI devices react to short and direct sentences, this learning algorithm enables complex communications, such as finding a restaurant when a user asks, “What time is it now?” at lunch time.

Samsung Electronics is working with Professor Bengio in developing AI algorithms on image and voice recognition and autonomous driving at its AI lab in Montreal, Canada, which was established in 2017. Samsung aims to develop human-like AI algorithm that understands longer and neogrammatical sentences so that it can apply it to its products and services.

Professor Seung is a world-renowned AI scientist, who helped pioneer the new field of connectomics. He joined Samsung in 2018 as chief research scientist (CRS).

Industry watchers say it is meaningful in itself for Samsung to share the latest technology trends with world-renowned scientists through AI forums. It is particularly notable that the tech giant has established AI research centers in five countries and its vice president is working on expanding the AI network by himself.

“Samsung has overcome Japanese tech companies that once felt like an insurmountable barrier by proactively responding to the digital revolution in the 1990s,” an industry official said. “Samsung is trying to advance into the field of AI, thinking that it would have a chance in the era of fourth industrial revolution only by catching up with American companies, the unparalleled leader in the field.”

Hyoun-Soo Kim kimhs@donga.com