Samsung Electronics acquired Larry Heck, a world-class AI guru. Larry Heck himself developed Google’s Google Assistant, one of the best AI services in the world, and Microsoft's Cortana.
According to Samsung Electronics on January 19, Dr. Heck has been serving as a senior director of AI research and development at Samsung Research America (SRA) in Mountain View, Silicon Valley of the US since last November.
Dr. Heck gave a keynote address with Son Young-kwon, president of Samsung Electronics, at the closed-door AI Conference held by SRA on January 17 to 18. In the conference, presentations were made by leading scholars in AI working at Google, the MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and UC Berkeley with about 300 participants in attendance.
"AI and machine learning will become the main stream in the future," Dr. Heck said in his keynote speech. “Samsung Electronics is planning to explore new ways through collaboration with companies, academia and researchers. We will hold AI-related events all over the world."
Dr. Heck received a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and since 1992, had studied natural language at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). In 1998, he moved to Nuance Communications, a speech recognition company. As vice president of R&D, he developed early AI technologies such as natural language processing, speech recognition, and text-to-speech solutions.
In 2005, Dr. Heck began to head the R&D Department at Yahoo and implemented a project to introduce AI services in search. Dr. Heck began to develop AI services in earnest in 2009 when he joined Microsoft. Dr. Heck led the development of AI service ‘Cortana’ at Microsoft. In 2014, Heck moved to Google and developed 'Google Assistant' as general manager of development at Google.
Along with the recruitment of Dr. Heck, Samsung will concentrate on the 'AI First' strategy. Samsung Electronics announced last year that the company would establish an AI lab in Canada and work with professor Yoshua Bengio of Montreal University, a top authority in AI and machine learning. This year, the company will set up pre-AI research organizations with about 200 people in Britain and Russia. In Korea, Samsung Research was established by reorganizing research centers and Kim Hyun-seok, head of the Consumer Electronics (CE) Division of Samsung Electronics, took charge of Samsung Research as its first head.