Samsung Buys Korean AI Startup

Sam Williams November 28, 2017
Samsung Buys Korean AI Startup

Samsung Electronics Co. announced on Tuesday it had bought a local artificial intelligence startup, Fluenty.

The South Korean tech giant has just acquired Korean artificial intelligence startup Fluenty, in an apparent bid to improve its voice recognition system, Bixby. The acquisition will allow the company to integrate Fluenty's services into its own AI platform. It also comes in the wake of the announcement that the company has named a new chief to lead its software development department.

The goal is to deploy AI capabilities not just in smartphones but across all its consumer electronics. The company said its home appliances will all have smart features, such as AI and voice recognition, by 2020.

Established in 2015, Fluenty, an artificial intelligence startup that has developed a machine learning-based chatbot, is known for being founded by researchers from top tech firms in South Korea including Naver, LG Electronics and Kakao.

The tech giant has taken active steps to bolster its competitiveness in cutting edge areas through acquisitions. It also took over U.S.-based AI software developer, Viv Labs Inc. last year.

The company is hoping for its latest acquisition to help in upgrading Bixby, which has unfortunately received a lukewarm response from consumers since its launch. Moreover, Bixby is still struggling when it comes to picking up English and Chinese commands. It remains to be seen if Samsung is really going to integrate Fluenty’s app with Bixby.

It’s evident that Samsung is seriously working hard to improve its AI assistant’s English service. The company just named the new chief of Samsung Research America who will be tasked to lead the firm’s software development, especially Bixby’s services for English-speaking consumers.

The new chief, Lee Joon-hyun who is the senior vice president in the development of a voice recognition module at Digital Media & Communications R&D Center in Seoul, is replacing the former U.S. research chief Kim Yong-jae, who has been moved to Korea to lead software research at the mobile business division.

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Sam Williams


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