LG’S PARADIGM SHIFT TO AI

CTO discusses artificial intelligence, security and co-operation

At IFA 2018, LG president and chief technology officer Dr I.P. Park gave an opening keynote speech centred on the company’s mantra – Evolve, Connect, Open. Afterwards, he sat down with us and talked about the company’s emphasis on AI, which has been realised across its product range via the ThinQ brand.

WE MAKE SURE WE KEEP CUSTOMER PRIVACY AND SECURITY AS TIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE.

LG has grown tremendously over the years, to become a global consumer electronics company making 100s of product types. The shift from analogue to digital was important in terms of maintaining quality but now AI is doing so much more. As products become smarter and smarter, and learn about the user from data, it is changing the paradigm of products. As soon as you buy a traditional product it depreciates, but data adds value to products. The more you use an AI- enabled product, the higher the value goes. In this way, AI will add to business. This is what we call Evolution at LG. Also important to LG are Connection and Openness.

Can you tell us about the security implications of AI and IoT?
We take security and privacy very seriously with connected products. We make sure we keep customer privacy and security as tightly as possible. We don’t collect and store customer profile information. We only observe usage data to make products smarter. Some people fear that networked products are inherently insecure because they are connected, but LG makes sure it has the latest security in every product. Even if there is a security error or vulnerability, we have a security response team to stay alert and respond as soon as possible. It is an ongoing battle, but we have signed a collaborative agreement with the Open Connectivity Foundation, a group of 400 members with IoT devices. It is an industry wide platform that is designed to make sure we have standard mechanisms on security.

Where is the market in terms of AI?
It is at a very early stage. When people talk about AI, they usually mean voice interaction like Alexa – LG also has a good assistant that is getting better and better. But there is some way to go before devices become as intelligent as humans. Soon we will see other interfaces around vision, gesture and biometrics.

Can you tell us about your tests with robots at Incheon airport?
Robots are an important new strategic business area. We have 14 service robots at Incheon airport, a service we started a couple of weeks ago. Airports are a hostile environment, acoustically noisy with thousands of people moving around. So the robots have to avoid a lot of obstacles and quickly interact with people with information from the cloud. We have had requests from hotels, malls, banks etc so we are trying to understand how to meet the wider demand for robots.

Will consumers be able to take data with them if they upgrade/change products?

In theory yes. I would like to say that the transfer of all the knowledge and information from machine to machine will happen, but it depends on policy of the company that makes it. In my view, AI should be customer-centric not company-centric, so my message to the industry is don’t be self-centred. Let’s think of what we can do all together to provide the best solution to all of our customers.

How does the IFA emphasis on coinnovation fit with LG’s strategy?

One of LG’s three aspects is openness. We are looking at a different world compared to 10 years ago. The world is too complex and diverse – we can’t do everything alone, no matter how many resources we have. So our philosophy, like coinnovation, is to work with partners to provide the best service to customers.

What investments are you making in AI research?
We have many R&D labs around the world – in Korea, Silicon Valley, Moscow, St Petersburg, Bangalore, and next month we open a lab in Toronto. We are adding more and more AI capabilities but not just in our internal research. Openness means we also work with our industrial partners, universities and so on.


Photo: Dr I.P. Park, President & CTO, LG Electronics.