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Samsung Fourth Largest Global Investor In AI Startups

March 17, 2016 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is expected to be the next big thing in technology, and many tech companies are investing heavily to make sure they don’t lose out on opportunities as and when the technology becomes more mainstream in the coming years. While AI has already started intriguing and exciting industry insiders and tech enthusiasts alike, the increasing chatter surrounding the new technology has given rise to multiple concerns regarding job losses and science fiction-like scenarios of AI-enabled robots starting to exert control over humans, eventually taking over the planet, not unlike the dystopian sci-fi movie ‘I, Robot’. While Alphabet Chairman, Mr. Eric Schmidt, has already admitted that jobs may be at stake because of artificial intelligence, the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, recently categorically denied that AI-enabled robots are about to take over the planet any time soon.

Whatever be the case, most established technology companies are diving into AI-related research headlong, and while American tech giants like Google and Facebook are already burning the midnight oil on research related to artificial intelligence, South Korean conglomerate, Samsung, is also spending the big bucks by investing in a number of tech startups worldwide, in an effort to increase its presence in the sector. According to reports in the South Korean media, Samsung Venture Investment, which happens to be a subsidiary of the Samsung Group and hence, a sister concern for Samsung Electronics, has already invested a truckload of money in more than ten global tech companies, all of which are deeply involved in AI-related research.

Regarding some of the companies that Samsung has been spending its money on, AI start-ups such as Vicarious, Idibon, MindMeld, Reactor Labs, Automated Insights and Maluuba happen to be just some of the startups that have received venture capital funds from the South Korean firm. While the exact amount of money Samsung has invested in these companies still remain undisclosed, an US-based venture capital database called CB Insights has reportedly ranked Samsung’s investments as the fourth highest amongst all companies investing in AI startups. The report does not mention who the top three investors in the space are. Samsung is also working with the Deakin University in Australia on an AI-enabled smart home project in the country that’s aimed at making life easier and safer for elderly residents in the city of Greater Geelong in the state of Victoria.