"We don't want to use AI as a marketing strategy," LG Electronics Chief Technology Officer Il-pyung Park said Monday on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show 2018, CNET reports. Mr. Park's comments came shortly after the South Korean tech giant detailed a wide variety of product categories that it's releasing as part of the ThinQ family later this year, having opted to relaunch the brand and use its related artificial intelligence technologies to promote a smart home ecosystem that's both unified and open to third-party products and services.
LG's general approach to contemporary consumer electronics and AI applications it's looking to explore in this product segment remains somewhat inconsistent; following an emphasis placed on its collaboration with Amazon at CES 2017, the company's return to the annual trade show largely revolved around its newfound partnership with Google which has reportedly been strengthening over the course of the last year. While the new ThinQ devices will technically support both the Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, the latter will only be implemented in the form of a third-party Skill of somewhat limited nature compared to a full-fledged integration. Despite what was widely interpreted as an early bet on Amazon's dominance in the consumer AI segment, LG now appears to be counting on Google winning the consumer-level AI race, though Mr. Park insists the company was always promoting an open platform with a broad range of third-party compatibilities.
Looking back at LG's last two CES appearances, the company's AI chief Peter Kim said the move to integrate Alexa into one of its smart refrigerator lineups in early 2017 wasn't meant to imply exclusive commitment to Amazon's digital helper but was made because Alexa's superior shopping integration was a more natural fit a device meant to be the center of one's kitchen where people are more likely to want to buy groceries. Likewise, the Google Assistant is natively integrated into its new TVs instead of Alexa because TV users have a larger tendency to ask their AI helpers about things like news and weather, i.e. an area in which Google has Amazon beat, the executive suggested. Ultimately, Mr. Park's comments on the matter likely weren't meant to be taken literally because AI will seemingly be at the forefront of the company's promotional endeavors centered around its consumer electronics going forward and he only implied LG didn't set out to embrace AI because of its marketing potential but general usefulness.