What Are the Future Plans and Challenges of AI At Samsung? – Interview With YJ Kim

 With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 Ultra last week, the era of smartphones with artificial intelligence (AI) began. Under the Galaxy AI umbrella, there are various new features on the Galaxy S24 series that have never been offered on any other device on the market.

While in San Jose, we had the chance to interview YJ Kim the Head of the AI Team at Samsung's mobile device business. He had time to share some of the future plans for the use of AI at Samsung as well as answer questions about the features offered now.

Question – Why is it only now that Samsung is launching a device with AI? Is it just following the current trend as popularized by popular AI services like ChatGPT?

YJ Kim – We at Samsung don't just follow current trends. Samsung since the beginning uses the latest technology in the devices it releases. The use of AI at this time arrived at the right time to be used by consumers. AI is not just used for temporary interests but is a very useful technology for everyday activities.

Question – We are aware that various features such as Live Translate and Call Assist only support 13 languages. As a journalist from Southeast Asia, when will Samsung offer Bahasa Malaysia support?

YJ Kim – So close! When we wanted to launch the Galaxy S24 we actually wanted to support as many major languages as possible. But before that each supported language had to go through a rigorous testing process so that it could be used properly when offered to users. Bahasa Malaysia support has been planned. It will arrive sooner than you might expect.

Question – Back to the topic of Galaxy AI, why is it just free until the end of 2025 and then requires a subscription?

YJ Kim – This is because of the cost of developing the AI model which often needs to be improved along with the cost of the browser which needs to be considered as well. However our aim (at Samsung) is to offer customers good value for the features they provide. AI is developing rapidly at this point and we still don't know what services will use it in the future. When all this is taken into account, payment will be made for additional features that will be offered later.

Question – At CES earlier this month, Samsung shared about the use of AI across the entire ecosystem of products such as smartphones, TVs, cars and even kitchen appliances. How is the AI model chosen by Samsung so that it can be offered also on devices like the Galaxy A series and even washing machines that certainly do not have high processing power?

YJ Kim – In order to run AI on a device, many optimization processes need to be done because it requires high computing power and memory. We also don't want it to be over-optimized to the point of reducing its performance anyway. So not all Samsung devices (with AI capabilities) will be given built-in AI capabilities. A washing machine for example will rely on AI capabilities in the cloud using an internet connection. Performance will not be affected here it will just cost data.

Question – Why no announcement about Bixby being enhanced with Galaxy AI capabilities?

YJ Kim – In the future this will happen but at this time the AI capabilities are not yet high enough to be integrated into Bixby.

Question – This is the last question. What is the most difficult thing to face when developing AI?

YJ Kim – The hardest thing? For me is the attention that needs to be given when optimizing the model used. Optimizations are done so that it can run natively on the device but still offer good performance and remain practical at the same time. For example, we offer a language switching feature when making phone calls in real time (Call Assist). The majority of AI models are developed using language data in written form. But the AI model used needs to be optimized for spoken language as opposed to written. This is one of the biggest challenges when training AI.

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