Uh-oh. LG to use AI to push home appliances to 'another dimension'

Deep learning, string theory and er ... kitchen gizmos?

Conceptual illiustration of fifth/sixth dimension. Finger presses light net. pHOTO BY shUTTERSTOCK

CES 2017 LG Electronics is unveiling a range of home appliances embedded with “deep learning technology” during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Riding on the coattails of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, the hype around deep learning - a branch of machine learning - shows no sign of fatigue as companies like LG are desperate to get in on the action.

“Deep learning technology is the next phase in the evolution of smart appliances, and as an industry leader, we have the responsibility of being an early mover,” Song Dae-hyun, president of LG Electronics and Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company, said in a statement.

The South Korean tech conglomerate claims to be pushing “smart home appliances to another dimension with deep learning technology” by showcasing its robot vacuum cleaner, smart refrigerator, air conditioner and washing machine.

The market for robot cleaners is growing. Companies such as iRobot's Roomba, Samsung, and Dyson have released their own devices, all shaped like small disks, capable of navigating space with sensors and cameras to hoover pesky particles of dust and leftover crumbs.

LG’s latest model claims to improve performance by adding a memory element. The robot remembers obstacles such as electrical wires and slippers and can recognise the difference between a human and chair, where it will “kindly [ask the person to] move out of the way, whereas it will simply maneover around a chair.”

Data on user behaviour is monitored over time so LG’s gadgets can spot important patterns and decide when to take particular actions. The refrigerator can do things like refill the ice tray, and change temperature conditions during hot weather to prevent food spoilage.

The air conditioner also claims to know what room is most populated at what times, and can adjust temperatures in a more energy-efficient manner, whilst the washing machine can change conditions to “counter the effects of hard water on clothes”.

The continuous gathering of data has been raised as a security concern, but in a statement, LG's president of LG Electronics and Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company, said “performance and convenience do not mean having to sacrifice security and privacy”.

What exactly the “deep learning” technology in the devices might be, as well as how LG plans to beef up data security remain unclear. LG has been contacted for comment. ®


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