Samsung taps Apple Siri veteran to lead North American AI Group

According to people familiar with the matter, Samsung Electronics Co. is combining two North American research centers focused on artificial intelligence technology and hiring a former Apple Inc. executive. to run the new group.

The company made the internal announcement this week, at the same time Apple launched a highly anticipated expansion into AI, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the changes have not been announced. Samsung is establishing a new operation called the North America AI Center – combining its teams in Toronto and Mountain View, California.

According to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, Samsung’s research department has “centralized” two centers to improve operations and increase efficiency. The company did not specify what would happen to the two offices.

The move is the latest sign that the world’s largest technology companies are becoming more active in AI. For device makers like Samsung and Apple, such features are seen as a way to get consumers to upgrade their technology more often.

Former Apple CEO Murat Akbacak will head this department. According to the memo, at the iPhone maker, Akbacak “is responsible for defining and executing the strategy for Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant, with a focus on personalization, contextualization, and advancements.” in conversational and multimodal AI”.

Representatives for Samsung and Apple declined to comment.

A key aspect of Apple’s AI announcement on Monday was making Siri more personalized and able to understand the context of requests. The company also revealed features that help users organize notifications across iPhone, iPad and Mac operating systems – part of a system it calls Apple Intelligence. Earlier in his career, Akbacak was an AI researcher and worked on voice assistants at Microsoft Corp.

Although Apple Intelligence uses OpenAI technology to power chatbots, the majority of features are designed in-house. On the other hand, Samsung mainly uses Alphabet Inc.’s Google Gemini technology. to support its AI capabilities.

Toronto is a hub for AI research and a source of talent for major tech companies. Technologies created in Canada have become part of Meta Platforms Inc.’s facial recognition algorithms, Google’s Photos app and smartphone voice recognition.

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