The race for AI supremacy is at a fast pace with the biggest players of the tech industry developing AI-based products almost every day. A relatively new Twitter account, operated by Samsung, with approximately 5000 followers and 23 tweets — Neon has been sharing several teasers over the last few weeks, on what they started calling as an “artificial human.” This bold product, the artificial human project will be unveiled properly by Samsung in Consumer Electronics Show 2020.
The Twitter posts have been asking the same question in various languages — “Have you ever met an ‘ARTIFICIAL’?” — with a post shared on December 26 spelling it out that “NEON = ARTIFICIAL HUMAN.” This sort of proves that Neon will apparently be able to communicate in multiple languages such as English, Chinese, Spanish, and more.
Neon has been developed by the Samsung Technology collaborating with Advanced Research Labs, or STAR Labs. According to the news, an Indian born scientist, Pranav Mistry, is going to lead the unit as its President and CEO, who is best known for his work on the Sixth Sense augmented reality technology and the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
What Is NEON?
So NEON will be a software-based artificial intelligence that will appear human in both its image and communication. It has been expected that NEON will be the first step of Samsung creating a non-human entity with which one can freely communicate using natural conversation. With the integration of the visual element, the communication won’t be limited to language, and one will be able to read the emotional state of the AI through its facial expressions.
The company has been severely careful on what to call this new launch, and has used phrases like ‘artificial human’ or ‘artificial intelligence being.’
According to a Dutch blog, four Samsung trademark applications have been filed with the USPTO for the following product names — NEON, Neon Artificial Human, Neon Life, and Core R3. When asked Samsung, the company clearly defined these applications as follows.
Neon: Entertainment services, namely, production of special effects including model-making services, computer-generated imagery and computer-generated graphics for the production of motion pictures, videos and movie trailers; augmented reality video production; creating computer-generated characters; design and development of computer-modelled versions of human beings using computer animation for use in movies, television, internet and other applications; design and development of software for virtual characters; creating for others custom computer-generated imagery, animations, simulations and models used for entertainment.
Neon.Life, and Core R3: Downloadable and recorded software for creating, viewing, manipulating, editing, malfunctioning, publishing, and exporting virtual characters; downloadable and recorded software for developing virtual characters; downloadable and recorded software for computer-generated characters for use in movies, television, internet and entertainment purposes; computer programs to create, deploy and distribute realistic-looking virtual characters via an internet platform; design and development of computer-modelled versions of human beings using computer animation.
Checking out the teasers and posts on social media, Indian-British filmmaker and actor Shekhar Kapur has also posted quite a bit about it on social media, suggesting he might be involved in the project in some way. His first tweet stated, “Finally, the Artificial [sic] Intelligence that will make you wonder which one of you is real.” And, in another tweet, he urged CES visitors to stop by the NEON corner to learn more about “an Artificial Intelligence being as your best friend.”
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According to the media, NEON is the culmination of Samsung’s push into AI and, is likely to be a part of the company’s broader goal to ‘secure cutting-edge AI core technologies and platforms—human-level AI with the ability to speak, recognise, and think, aimed at providing new AI-driven experiences and value to its customers.’
With the oncoming waves of augmented reality feature releases for Samsung smartphones, it is also expected that AR will play a big part in NEON, which is like adding up to the rumours of Samsung AR glasses.
Better Than Bixby?
According to the experts, relying on the teasers that have been shown, the company is aiming at a future with an artificial human, who is supposed to be way smarter than their AI assistant, Bixby, that competes with Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa.
According to an official tweet by NEON, which stated, “Honoured to have so much coverage even before we unveil, but contrary to some news, NEON is NOT about Bixby or anything you have seen before.”
Bixby has been running way behind its competitors from other tech companies like Google, which offers its own voice-activated assistant, Google Assistant, and Apple, which uses the voice assistant, Siri. However, this new, improved and innovative AI could be a way of convincing people to purchase Samsung hardware.
With big technology giants such as Amazon, Apple and Google continue to augment their AI models and assistants with ML frameworks, NLP and more advanced technologies to refine their abilities, Samsung is now going to join the elite group with the launch of its technologically advanced humanoid — NEON.
This AI human project would require its own OS, combining varied elements to create a VR persona, however, it is still not revealed whether this AI human will have AI brain or will merely become an avatar of the user, something like Samsung’s AR Emoji. But, in case, this AI human ends up using an AI brain, then Samsung will become the first of the tech companies to peak into the future with real androids.
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org