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Hybrid operation key to Galaxy AI: Samsung AI chief

Supporting both on-device, cloud-based AI, Galaxy AI boosts user convenience, data security

By Jo He-rim

Published : Jan. 21, 2024 - 16:05

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Kim Young-jip, head of the artificial intelligence team at Samsung Electronics, speaks during a press conference held at Samsung Research America in Mountain View, California, Thursday. (Samsung Electronics) Kim Young-jip, head of the artificial intelligence team at Samsung Electronics, speaks during a press conference held at Samsung Research America in Mountain View, California, Thursday. (Samsung Electronics)

SAN JOSE, California – Artificial intelligence is everywhere, but it has only been in the past couple of years that people have been able to visualize what AI might be able to do for them, with the advent of ChatGPT.

In its latest Galaxy S24 series, its first AI-powered smartphone, Samsung Electronics took it further to introduce AI features for everyday use, and made the complex process operate on-device via highly advanced optimization technology, the tech giant's AI chief said on Thursday.

“Samsung Electronics is putting in a lot of efforts to develop AI for implementation of new ways of interaction between the device and the user,” Kim Young-jip, executive vice president and head of the artificial intelligence team at Samsung Electronics, said in a press conference held at Samsung Research America located in Mountain View in Silicon Valley.

“Galaxy AI will provide an enhanced daily user experience in areas including productivity, communication and entertainment.”

What Samsung focused on for its Galaxy AI was for users to experience AI technology in daily life. So Samsung's researchers asked themselves: What is AI in daily life? Would people like it if they added a chatbot icon to the screen?

"Then, we turned to the very basic functions of smartphones: calling and recording and note-taking," Kim said, explaining how the latest Galaxy S24 series came to introduce real-time translation and transcription features for all of the three basic functions: Live Translate, Chat Assist and Note Assist.

At the same time, the tech giant sought to address the concerns of potential data leakage and privacy issues by developing on-device technology, enabling the AI process to take place on the device only, Kim said.

"For this core on-device technology, we have to train the AI with a vast amount of data and create this big parameter model of 32 bits. We then went through the highly-advanced optimization process of pruning, fine-tuning and quantizing to reduce the size to 3- and 4-bit parameters," Kim explained.

Regarding concerns that data storage could get overloaded with heavy data training, he compared it to how a human brain works.

"It is similar to how we do not carry around the 100 books we read in our hands. Once you read it, it is all in your head. Data does not increase when AI learns new things," Kim said.

The Galaxy S24 series currently supports 13 languages for its translation features, with plans to increase the number in the coming months. When using the cloud mode, the number of languages surges to 38.

According to Samsung, the AI model might have the language proficiency level of an elementary school student for now, but it continues to nurture its language skills to understand spoken languages, newly coined words and even slang.

Kim said what makes Galaxy AI distinctive from other AI models is its “hybrid operation” switching between on-device and cloud modes, which not only increases user convenience but also enhances data security.

For now, Galaxy AI is offered free of charge through software updates, and it is expected to be remain free of fees at least until the end of 2025.

"AI is developing at an exponential pace. What would have been 10 years of development occurred in the last year. We cannot imagine how services may evolve out of the technologies, so we will have to plan for later," Kim said.

On Wednesday, Samsung’s mobile business chief, Roh Tae-moon, said that the company will carry out software updates for Galaxy AI to be featured in 100 million Galaxy phones this year for the expansion of mobile AI.