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Samsung debuts ‘next-level’ AI bots at CES

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Sebastian Seung, president and head of Samsung Research, and Samsung’s Bot Handy – the at-home robotic assistant.
Sebastian Seung, president and head of Samsung Research, and Samsung’s Bot Handy – the at-home robotic assistant.

While it may have been difficult to provide a simple explanation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the past, the simple answer is that AI is a transformational technology.

So said Sebastian Seung, president and head of Samsung Research, introducing the company’s latest AI-driven products at its virtual press conference at CES 2021 on Monday.

When AI is involved, it creates something entirely new, Seung enthused. “Our world looks different, and many of you have been faced with a new reality – one where, among other things, your home has taken on a greater significance.

“Our innovations are designed to provide more personal and more intuitive experiences that express your personality. We’re hard at work to bring you next-generation innovation, with AI as the core enabler, for your better tomorrow.”

During his presentation, Seung highlighted the role AI is capable of playing in the home. “Today, AI is about being more personal and predictive. It’s about benefiting you every day by being a core part of the products and services you enjoy.”

According to the South Korean electronics manufacturer, AI is already at work in several of its consumer electronics, from smart washers to smart TVs.

Debuted at CES 2021 was Samsung’s JetBot 90 AI+, which Seung described as a robot vacuum fitted with smart object recognition technology for “intelligent cleaning”.

The JetBot 90 AI+, which will be available in the US within the first half of 2021, is fitted with LiDAR and 3D sensors for location mapping, he stated, adding that it integrated with the SmartThings app to assist users with home monitoring. “Robots like JetBot 90 AI+ are bringing next-level AI into your home.”

He then turned to the Samsung Bot Care, which is said to be the latest development in Samsung’s growing robotics lineup.

Samsung Bot Care uses AI to recognise and respond to a user’s behaviour so it can be a better robotic assistant. It will also learn a user’s schedule and habits and send reminders to help guide a user throughout a busy day.

The Samsung Bot Handy is also in development. It will rely on advanced AI to recognise and pick up objects of varying sizes, shapes and weights, becoming an extension of the user and helping with work around the house.

According to Samsung, Bot Handy will be able to tell the difference between the material composition of various objects, utilising the appropriate amount of force to grab and move around household items and objects.

Seung said: “Robotics combine Samsung’s innovative hardware and cutting-edge AI software to create solutions that both care for you and help you along the way, whether you are at home or outside of it.”

Looking to the future, Samsung revealed it is developing other tangible applications of AI technologies for daily life.

In addition, the company said it continues to build on its Samsung Bot Retail, which will guide users outside the home in retail environments, and GEMS, its health-focused exoskeleton as mobility aide.

AI applications

AI has appeared on both Gartner's and IDC's technology forecasts for the IT industry.

In a separate report, the IDC says AI has evolved to become more than the hype that once preceded it; and while it has yet to shift into robotic form and exceed the human, it has exceeded expectations in terms of scope and scale.

Sabelo Dlamini, senior research and consulting manager for IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, points out that AI is now entering the commercial space at speed, bringing with it applications and solutions that can change the face of business – not explosively, but intelligently.

“AI has been around since the 1950s but today we can see its promise far more clearly,” says Dlamini. “It is promising a significant impact across multiple sectors and it can potentially solve problems of a global magnitude. Recent technological advancements in computing, storage, and networking capabilities have enabled the viability of AI implementation.”

According to IDC, advancements in its abilities, and cost reductions, have made AI applications more commercially accessible. However, for AI to become even more relevant and accessible, there has to be a shift in business thinking.

“There’s an urgent need for business leaders to go beyond the AI headlines, which have mostly focused on machines replacing humans and causing job losses, and to look at more practical AI-powered solutions,” adds Dlamini. “AI needs to be leveraged for business decision-making to complement humans, to provide more predictive and prescriptive analytics, and to unpack the vast quantities of data owned by the organisation. AI can be used in so many ways, and those ways do not entail job losses and human cost.”

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