It’s All about Understanding! Interview with LG Dual Air Conditioner Developer

Artificial intelligent (AI), through which we can realize what we want simply by saying a command or pushing a button, is now becoming a major part of our lives. LG Dual Air Conditioner also plays its part as smart electronics, by grasping users’ living patterns and conditions the air at home. This posting will share an interview with the developers of LG Dual Air Conditioner at H&A control lab of LG Electronics H&A Headquarters—chief researcher Rak-Yong Kim and senior researchers Dong-Woo Han and Tae-Yeop Song—on how this product was developed and what the future AI will be like.


Q. You must’ve had to consider the ways to collect data and protect personal information when you applied AI to LG Dual Air Conditioner. How did you overcome the conundrum of information protection for AI ACs?

Han: Information protection is the most important part of AI development. We focused on creating ways to protect private information through mock hacking attempts while reviewing legal issues.

Song: There were many obstacles to implementing AI. Of course, it’s crucial to gather as much data as possible, and what’s even more critical is a protection of information and this can be quite tricky. We implement AI based on audio and video data, and this data should be converted to prevent access by the third person cannot access.

Kim: Things like AI or big data and information security are two sides of a double-edged sword. We had to put extra effort into protecting personal data by reviewing the law and attempting to hack into our own system from the beginning of the development.


LG Dual Air Condition


Q. LG Electronics launched in the 1990s a washing machine which implemented chaos theory and the fuzzy theory. The washing machine shows that LG has continued attempting to apply AI to electronics. Now I see that deep learning technology is applied to this AC. Can you tell me more about it?

Kim: Deep learning means a machine’s ability to learn by itself like a human would do. It recognizes situations and information, deduces it, and then acts on it. It’s like reading the user’s mind.

Han: The “pain point (bad experiences)” for AC users is that it gets too cold when the AC is set still, and it wastes energy by sending the cool wind to unnecessary directions when it is set to move. We applied deep learning to take care of this problem. The AC perceives the entire room by itself and controls its operation such as to which it’s going to send the cool wind and if it’s going to send direct or indirect wind.

Kim: AI recognizes circumstances and information then figures out what kind of move it’s going to make, and LG Dual Air Conditioner operates the same way. It first perceives which part of the room is most commonly occupied by the user, deducts what kind of wind would be more suitable for the user, and then sends the optimal wind.
Q. Beyond just remote control techniques using smart phones and internet, users want machines to become more convenient with AI. How did you make that happen with LG Dual Air Conditioner?
Song: The core of AI is all about understanding users’ needs and operating in such ways. This is why we emphasize understanding between machine and human.
Han: It’s possible to take account of users’ needs and add lots of functions to the machine. But no matter how many functions we add, most users just turn the machine on and keep it at “regular mode.” This is where “understanding” becomes important. Machine understands user’s needs and suggests the most suitable function so that the user can experience all functions of the machine.
Kim: It’s not important whether we are equipped with technologies like voice recognition and big data. What matters is whether a machine can understand the user and what the user expects from it. Machines’ understanding their users is only at its beginning stages so there can be some errors, but it will continue to evolve.
Q. It seems that AI is going to become more common in our lives. How do you imagine the future of AI implementation?
Kim: There are endless fields where AI can be utilized. Data on users will be accumulated, and this data will be shared among machines so they can learn how to realize what users expect. This means machines will provide more value to their users, through something that can be called collective intelligence. As mentioned earlier, LG Electronics has strived to provide products that understand users, and it will continue to do so.

Han: AI’s evolution can be divided into the “simple” and “ignore” phases. When it’s in the “simple” phase, products can be used only for limited functions. But when it reaches the “ignore” phase, it goes beyond its simple functions and users don’t even think about the existence of the product. For example, if an AC understands and analyzes data on users’ conversations as well as indoor and outdoor environments then create the optimal environment without the users even thinking about the setting, we can say that the AC has entered its “ignore” phase. This is the highest state that AI can achieve. Numerous “simple” electronics will be introduced before the products that users can actually “ignore” appear. LG Electronics developers’ efforts to make our lives better and to present the future of AI will continue.

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