Foxconn to plug a minimum of $340M into AI R&D over 5 years

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Manufacturing large Foxconn has mentioned it should make a significant funding in synthetic intelligence-based R&D because it appears for brand new enterprise progress alternatives in a cooling international smartphone market, Nikkei studies.

“We will at least invest some 10 billion New Taiwan dollars ($342M) over five years to recruit top talent and deploy artificial intelligence applications in all the manufacturing sites,” mentioned chairman Terry Gou.

“It’s likely that we could even pour in some $10BN or more if we find the deployments are very successful or can really generate results.”

Gou added that the ambition is to turn out to be “a global innovative AI platform rather than just a manufacturing company”.

Information put out this week by Technique Analytics data a 9 per cent fall in international smartphone shipments in This fall 2017 — the most important such drop in smartphone historical past — which the analyst blames on the ground falling out of the smartphone market in China.

“The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16 percent annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of wow models,” famous Technique Analytics’ Linda Sui in an announcement.

On a full-year foundation, the analysts data international smartphone shipments rising 1 % — topping 1.5 billion items for the primary time.

However there’s little doubt the smartphone progress engine that’s fed manufacturing giants like Foxconn for thus lengthy is winding down.

This week, for instance, Apple — Foxconn’s largest buyer — reported a dip in iPhone gross sales for the vacation quarter. Although Cupertino nonetheless managed to carve out extra income (due to that $1k iPhone X price-tag). However these type of artistic pricing alternatives aren’t on the desk for electronics assemblers. So it’s all about using expertise to do extra for much less.

In response to Nikkei, Foxconn intends to recruit as much as 100 prime AI specialists globally. It additionally mentioned it should recruit hundreds of much less skilled builders to work on constructing purposes that use machine studying and deep studying applied sciences.

Embedding sensors into manufacturing line tools to seize knowledge to feed AI-fueled automation growth is a key a part of the AI R&D plan, with Foxconn saying earlier that it needs to supply superior manufacturing experiences and companies — eyeing competing with the likes of Common Electrical and Cisco.

The corporate has additionally been working with Andrew Ng’s new AI startup Touchdown.ai — which is itself targeted on plugging AI into industries that haven’t but tapping into the tech’s transformative advantages, with a primary concentrate on manufacturing — since July.

And Gou confirmed the startup will likely be a key companion as Foxconn works in the direction of its personal AI-fueled transformation — utilizing tech introduced in through Touchdown.ai to assist remodel the manufacturing course of, and determine and predict defects.

Fairly what such AI-powered transformation would possibly imply for the roles of a whole lot of hundreds of people at present employed by Foxconn on meeting line duties is much less clear. Nevertheless it appears like these staff will likely be serving to to coach AI fashions that might find yourself changing their labor through automation.

Featured Picture: Matt Wakeman/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.zero LICENSE

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Désiré LeSage

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