LG, Naver team up for ThinQ Hub AI speaker


LG Electronics' AI speaker, ThinQ Hub, will be powered by Naver's Clova AI platform, the companies have said. ThinQ Hub comes with LG's own AI platform but owners can get Clova through a firmware update. The speaker, makes up part of LG's SmartThinQ smart home line-up, was designed to control and monitor LG-made home appliances. LG opened up the platform's API to developers last month. Despite having its own AI installed, LG likely teamed up with Naver to get the latter's streaming music service, which is the most popular service for AI speaker owners.

SK Telecom, Hyundai to create $45m AI fund


SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha Asset Management, and Element AI will create a joint fund to invest in startups with innovative technology, the companies said. Called the AI Alliance Fund, South Korea's largest mobile carrier and the country's biggest car maker, along with Hanwha, will put in $45 million to invest in startups working in AI, smart mobility, and fintech in Europe, Israel, and the US. Element AI, an AI solutions provider founded by AI authority professor Yoshua Bengio of Montreal University, will be the fund's AI advisor. It will leverage the research group's expertise and global network to find promising startups. SK Telecom said it hoped the startups will ultimately improve business for the companies involved.

Artificial intelligence: It's about to cause a major upheaval in jobs


There's much concern about the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs and the economy. And while it's difficult to know for certain which types of jobs will likely be eliminated by AI, one thing is for sure: the technology will have a profound affect on a range of skills. "It's not easy to predict far into the future, but it is easier to indicate what AI technologies have advanced at an unusually rapid pace over the past five years," said Tom Mitchell, professor of machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science. These include computer vision, which has improved in terms of error rates in recent years; speech, which has been enhanced to the point where both Microsoft and IBM have claimed that they've reached human-level speech-to-text performance on the standard "switchboard" data set; analytical skills, evidenced by the ability to defeat top humans at games like Go and poker; and mobile robotics, including the advancements in drones and self-driving cars. Machine learning is the underlying technology that has effectively caused each of these advances, Mitchell said.

Kakao AI speaker begins official sales


Kakao has begun official sales of its Kakao Mini AI speaker, the company said. The speaker goes up for sale on Kakao's gift market, available on its chat app KakaoTalk. The speaker costs 119,000 won ($107), but subscribers to Kakao's music streaming service Melon can get it for 49,000 won ($44). Kakao said Kakao Mini will understand the context to answer queries and will sync with Melon's database to suggest music. The compnay will add other services to the speaker at a later date, including translations, ordering food, and calling cabs -- all of which are all services Kakao provides on mobile.

Kakao launches mobile parking service


Kakao Mobility has rebranded its cab chauffeur service KakaoTaxi and updated it to include all its existing transportation services along with the new addition of parking. Now called Kakao T, users can call cabs, call for substitute drivers, navigate, and search for parking spaces all through the one app, the company said. They can access any of those services through a tab bar at the top of the app. Payments will be automatically paid through Kakao Pay, the firm said. The new parking service searches for available parking spaces in real time, and will suggest up to five parking spaces around the user's specified location.

Naver unveils new AI speakers with character designs


South Korean internet giant Naver on Tuesday unveiled a new artificial intelligence voice assistant speaker designed in the shape of two main characters from its mobile messenger Line. Dubbed "Friends," the smart speaker comes in two versions, each resembling Line messenger's Brown, a brown bear, and Sally, a yellow chick. Naver's Friends smart speaker (Naver) The speaker runs on Clova, the AI-powered voice assistant platform co-developed by Naver and Line. Friends is designed to be portable unlike other standard AI speakers. It weighs only 378 grams and is able to operate for five consecutive hours on a full charge.

Kakao to sync AI platform with Samsung smart appliances


Kakao's AI platform will be synced with Samsung Electronics' home appliances to create new services, the companies have said. Users will be able to remotely turn on air conditioners from their car for example, Kakao said, which will be the first service the two cooperate on. Later, air purifiers, air conditioners, and robot cleaners will automatically turn off or on depending on the user's movement patterns at home. The announcement follows the companies saying last month that they would sync their AI platforms, Kakao I and Bixby, going forward.

Car infotainment is 'too dangerous' to use driving: So what's riskier, voice or buttons?


Programming navigation is the most distracting task, taking drivers on average 40 seconds to complete. The most distracting task is navigation, taking drivers' attention away from the road ahead for more than 40 seconds at a time on average. Participants were given a chance familiarize themselves with the road and vehicle's system,and then asked to call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation while driving. The AAA urges automakers to design systems so as to block text messaging, social media and programming navigation while the car is in motion.

Samsung opens AI lab in Canada


Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) has opened an AI Lab at the University of Montreal in Canada, Samsung Electronics said. The lab, which was opened in August, will focus on developing core algorithms for use in robotics, autonomous driving, translations, and voice and visual recognition. SAIT, a research arm of Samsung Electronics, focuses on researching technology for the long-term that maybe commercially applicable in the next five to 10 years. Earlier this month, Facebook also announced that it was opening an AI lab in Montreal.

Kakao to provide open tool for AI platform


Developers can use Kakao I Open Builder to make services with the Kakao I Inside branding. Kakao will provide an open development tool for its AI platform Kakao I, the South Korean chat giant said, with the beta version rolling out in October. They will be able to create chat bots, create services that sync with the firm's AI speaker Kakao Mini, and make image recognition-based services, the chat giant said. The company will provide the Kakao I Inside moniker for these services created by partners and consumers, it said.