LG is showcasing a new line of home appliances that make use of advanced machine learning technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Called “deep learning” the technology is already being researched and used by tech giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google who see it as useful as it can allow machines to learn and improve unsupervised over time.
LG is bringing the technology into its home appliances in the hopes that it will allow the devices to learn and understand owner habits and lifestyle patterns, providing a tailored user experience over time.
Not sure what products that would work in? Well, LG has managed to bring it to four, all of which, it claims, push “smart home appliances to another dimension with deep learning technology”: a vacuum cleaner, a refrigerator, an air conditioner, and a washing machine.
The ever-learning smart home
Automated vacuum cleaners are increasingly popular, but LG’s offering will capture surface images of all the rooms in your home to remember obstacles and how to avoid them. It’ll be able to identify electrical wires and slippers and avoid them so you don’t have to come to it’s aid when it picks up more than it can chew.
It’ll even notice the difference between the slippers on their own and you wearing them, politely asking any humans it encounters to move while just moving around stationary objects.
So, your LG vacuum cleaner will learn to avoid table legs better than you in your own home. And your LG fridge will analyse your eating habits more closely than you ever will. Don’t worry, it won’t use the information to tell you to eat healthier; instead it’ll fill the ice tray when it reaches the time of day it’s noticed cold drinks are most used or it’ll initiate a sterilization program to extend food life in the event of temperature and humidity changes.
The LG air conditioner will hopefully help avoid you feeling any dramatic temperature changes, though, by sensing which parts of your home are most occupied at different points of the day and adjusting cooling to suit.
Learning your habits
Last, but by no means least, LG’s smart washing machine will learn its user’s local environment and daily activities and adjust how it washes their clothes to suit. Live in an area with hard water? Water temperature will be adjusted to match. Regularly go on muddy treks? Your washing machine will add an extra spin cycle to make those particular clothes extra clean.
It’s clever and according to Song Dae-hyun (opens in new tab), president of LG Electronics, “Deep learning technology is the next phase in the evolution of smart appliances, and as an industry leader, [LG has] the responsibility of being an early mover.”
That said, it’s also a little creepy and involves incredible amounts of personal data collection from consumers. LG says it’s aware of this and that “performance and convenience do not mean having to sacrifice security and privacy. They can and should exist simultaneously.”
How exactly it plans to ensure the security and privacy of consumer data isn’t clear just yet, but it’s certainly interesting to see how deep machine learning will come into our lives more directly in the near future.
Whether or not all consumers will be comfortable with their gadgets knowing more about their daily routines than even they're aware of is yet to be seen.
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