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LG’s new ThinQ AI - this time, it’s personal

Apr 10,2019
A model browses through photos organized by AI software on the LG V50 ThinQ phone. Its upgraded AI software can organize photos by event, date and place. [LG ELECTRONICS]
LG Electronics’ new V50 ThinQ and G8 ThinQ come complete with a more intelligent form of artificial intelligence (AI).

According to the electronics company, the new ThinQ phone will come with an AI system that is able to offer more personalized answers. The software will be able to respond to users by not only understanding their words but also the context and the user’s situation, explained Sohn Ju-ho, who leads LG’s AI development team.

On Tuesday, the company held a conference call to explain the improvements it has made to the AI features on its new smartphones, the G8, which launched last month, and V50, slated to start sales on April 19.

“The internet, until now, was about sending identical content to multiple users in a seamless way, but the 5G era, which allows for data transfers of much larger sizes, will enable different content to be exchanged according to a user’s situation,” he said.

LG launched its AI ThinQ brand last year. Every phone and home electronics that comes with AI software has ThinQ somewhere in its product name.

But until now, the AI assistants largely stopped at understanding simple statements and enabling easy tasks. This meant that verbal requests often had to be precise and unnatural. LG’s technology for the new phones has been improved so that the AI system remembers contextual information about a user and uses it to answer more vague and complex requests.

For example, if a user wants to find a specific text message or a missed phone call they received weeks before when they were in Gangnam District in southern Seoul, the search word “Gangnam” will show a list of phone calls and messages sent or received while in the area. In the past, doing so would have only shown texts that contained the word.

The form of sentences uttered for verbal requests will also be more natural. The past version mostly understood imperative sentences, but now the system will understand questions as well.

Another feature LG boasts about is that it doesn’t save the perceived user’s data in a cloud system. Instead it is all saved inside each smartphone, which the company explains can eliminate the risk of personal data breaches when central servers are hacked.

“A lot of companies that deal with personal information focus on encryption technology, but from a consumer’s perspective it’s not just about encryption but a matter of who is managing my personal information, how it’s being used and who is authorized to keep it,” added Sohn.

The AI features on the V50 and G8’s cameras have also been improved. Last year, LG introduced Vision AI on its high-end phones to enable the camera to detect the object and adjust settings in a way that best captures the image. The upgraded software accelerates this process, making it eight times faster by sorting the subject into one of 19 categories in 0.02 seconds.

The V50 and G8 are also the first phones that are enabled with a Google Lens feature that can automatically read QR codes, bar codes and send users to an online shopping page for a specific item. The Google Lens can also recognize telephone numbers and make calls. This is part of LG’s general direction for AI: to embed technology and platforms from external tech companies.

“Having an open platform is important for satisfying various consumer preferences, but at the same time our plan is to internally develop technologies in analyzing images and data,” Sohn said.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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