LG Electronics Canada has appointed a new head to the LG Artificial Intelligence Lab in Toronto. Darin Graham, the company’s new director of R&D strategy and operations, said consumers can expect to see recent AI research seep into LG products.
“What we’re really going to try to do here with our lab is get some wonderful ideas… and start transitioning that AI technology into the applicability of our LG systems,” said Graham in an interview with IT World Canada. “The second part in this is picking those things that can have the greatest impact on the customer’s experience and start focusing on working with our customers and how we can make our systems better for them.”
The LG AI Lab in Toronto, which was founded in August 2018 in collaboration with the University of Toronto and serves as an extension of LG’s Santa Clara, California lab, focuses largely on LG’s work in edge computing and edge AI, which LG plans to apply to many of its products such as autonomous vehicles, home appliances, and a range of other products.
Graham, who brings with him a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, and a Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, as well as extensive career experience in the field of AI, said that the goal of AI applications within consumer products like home appliances is to create a more connected home with the ability to adapt to the needs of the homeowner, as well as learn to operate more efficiently with independence and no need to be prompted by the user.
“People’s life becomes better by things being less expensive, things taking less time, things that do things more for you. And so if you’re sitting on your sofa at home, just look at the things that are around you that you interact with. Your TV is there, your dishwasher is there, your refrigerator, your stove; pieces of equipment that you interact with,” explained Graham. “So if we’re going to create a better user experience… how do we make your life even better in the future? How do we give them the capability to understand and work with you so that it saves you time and it saves you money?”
He provided a couple of examples of AI-integrated home appliances that he envisions being on the horizon. The first being a fridge that can not only alert the user to what food they are low on but also analyzes the food they tend to buy and presents them with healthier recipes they could be cooking with those ingredients. Another example was a washing machine that could analyze the user’s daily routine and schedule itself to run not only when the sound will make the least impact on their daily life but also to know when electricity costs are lowest to select the optimal time to operate.
But these goals come with their own challenges, said Graham. Notably the ability for devices with low computing power to operate advanced tasks while being able to communicate with all of the other connected devices in your home. And it is those challenges he said they plan to focus on in their research.
“How do we look at that those things and apply it into these smaller devices? How do we optimize these networks? How do we strip them down to make them smaller and faster? How do we take them so that they can generalize, say they learn about one particular thing, and then can be applied to something else that’s very similar?”
And Graham said his experiences in product development, as well as his experience in AI research (most notably as the founding member of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence), is something he plans to lean on heavily as he guides LG’s AI Lab through these challenges in his new position.