The Korea Herald


Viv Labs executives visit Samsung to discuss AI

By 김영원

Published : Nov. 6, 2016 - 11:01

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[THE INVESTOR] The top executives of Viv Labs, a US artificial intelligence startup which was acquired by Samsung Electronics last month, paid a visit to the head office of the Korean tech giant in Seoul on Nov. 4.

Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus and CTO Adam Cheyer had meetings with the top management of Samsung, including Rhee In-jong, who heads Samsung’s mobile R&D division.

The visit comes amid rumors that Samsung would incorporate the US startup’s AI platform, called Viv, into its Galaxy S8, which will likely be unveiled in February. 

The AI technology of the US firm, established in 2012, responds to a user’s voice commands to manage tasks, such as web searching.

“The takeover of the US startup was aimed at improving the user interface of not only Samsung smartphones, but also home appliances such as TVs and refrigerators through the AI-powered voice recognition tech,” said Samsung in a statement, adding it needed to seek such AI technology through a partnership or a merger and acquisition deal as well as to develop its own.

Global tech firms including Apple and Google have competitively launched their own voice-powered AI assistants recently.

Not to be outdone, Samsung has been ratcheting up its efforts to recruit AI experts.

Some of the AI specialists who have joined the Korean smartphone maker include Kim Min-kyeong, a former IBM researcher who had participated in the R&D project for Big Blue’s AI solution Watson, and Lee Geun-bae, a renowned researcher in natural language technology.

Samsung, which has poured resources into developing the AI tech for the past four years, said it would beef up its collaboration with other companies in order to gain a technical edge in the AI sector.

By Kim Young-won (