LG establishes AI research center, plans to invest ₩200 billion

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LG establishes AI research center, plans to invest ₩200 billion

LG AI Research head Bae Kyung-hoon delivers a speech during an online event on Monday. [LG GROUP]

LG AI Research head Bae Kyung-hoon delivers a speech during an online event on Monday. [LG GROUP]

 
LG Group has established a research organization specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and its application across the conglomerate’s affiliates.
 
LG AI Research was established Monday. LG Group plans to invest 200 billion won ($184 million) over the next three years in research and development (R&D) and hiring a professional workforce. The goal is to expand the number of AI researchers in the entire group to 1,000 by 2023, starting from 100 new hires next year.
 
The unit will focus on developing core AI technology and finding ways to use that knowledge to solve business problems among LG affiliates. For example, LG’s researchers once developed a way to use AI technology to reduce the time spent developing new drug candidates to eight months, from three and a half years.
 
Voice, video recognition, language processing, data intelligence, understanding real-life contexts and anticipating what happens next are among the core themes the research center will study. A high-performance computing system will be built up for the new organization to process vast amounts of data.
 
The organization will be involved in AI research regarding 16 of LG’s affiliates including LG Electronics, LG Display, LG Chem, LG U+ and LG CNS. With them, training courses will be created to develop AI experts with knowledge that could specifically serve the affiliates’ needs.
 
“Across electronics, telecommunication, battery, drugs and life care, LG has accumulated a vast amount of meaningful data from our daily lives,” said Bae Kyung-hoon, the AI center’s head, during his speech at an online opening ceremony on Monday.
 
“And yet, we stopped at applying AI to our products and services rather than making efforts to deeply understand the technology behind it. The launch of LG AI Research marks the start of LG jumping in to answer more profound questions and develop new business opportunities in the AI field.”
 
Bae previously led the AI division under LG Science Park, the group’s science research subsidiary.
 
The company has promised “huge compensation” for its future workforce, which it plans to hire from all over the world. LG AI Research’s R&D workforce will be evaluated on assessment standards totally different from other LG affiliates and will be given the opportunity to freely conduct research in their field of interest rather than sticking to one subject as a team member.
 
Lee Hong-lak

Lee Hong-lak

Alongside the launch of LG AI Research, the conglomerate hired Lee Hong-lak, associate professor of computer engineering at the University of Michigan and former research scientist at Google Brain. In 2013, he was selected as one of “AI’s 10 to Watch" by IEEE Intelligent Systems, one of the most prestigious academic journals in the AI field.
 
Appointed as “chief scientist of AI,” Lee will take charge of developing original technology and setting a long-term road map for the research unit.
 
“LG’s initiative in AI is to help it enhance the quality of life of our customers,” said LG Group Chair Koo Kwang-mo in a congratulatory message. “LG AI Research will play a pivotal role in representing the group and spearheading change from the inside.”
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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