Samsung Wants AI Research To Be Open And Collaborative

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The latest iteration of Samsung's Artificial Intelligence Summit which took place this Tuesday and Wednesday in Mountain View, California, called for large-scale collaboration in the field, with Samsung's top officials suggesting researchers and other experts are stronger together and should partner to jointly advance the technology that's ultimately expected to benefit everyone. The summit held in Google's hometown hosted over 300 attendees in total, with its audience being a mix of industry professionals, academics, and students. During a panel talk at the event, Samsung Electronics Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn deemed machine learning and general AI technologies "major strategic imperatives" for the Seoul-based company.

While the firm has been expanding its Bixby assistant in the last 12 months, the majority of its previous AI efforts were software-related, at least as far as commercial applications are concerned. Samsung is now said to be working on new brain-like chips and neural processing units meant to be integrated into its future mobile system-on-chip offerings but has only ramped up its efforts to do so after Huawei and Apple presented their first NPU-equipped smartphones last fall. The sheer size of the tech juggernaut's operations still allowed it to catch up to its rivals in terms of the processing power of its NPUs in a matter of months, some industry sources claim, adding that the company is likely to debut new AI chips for Android smartphones in the second half of the year and may already commercialize similar solutions meant to power servers before that.

While Samsung already partnered with a number of Korean universities and other experts on AI development, the company is now also seeking such partnerships on a global level, as suggested by its officials during this week's AI Summit. Samsung is now understood to be approaching various entities around the world as part of an effort to expand its AI partnerships but is also said to be open to being approached by researchers and organizations pursuing similar goals. The chaebol also intends to make its advancements available to third parties so as to allow its AI ecosystems of the future to grow in a natural manner. In the near term, such an ambition will lead to Bixby having custom capabilities similar to Skills for Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant's Actions. An open SDK for Samsung's assistant has already been confirmed as part of Bixby 2.0 but that particular version of the service is still in a closed beta phase of development and won't be made public until later this year.

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