Foxconn to plug at least $340M into AI R&D over five years
Manufacturing large Foxconn has stated it’ll make a serious funding in synthetic intelligence-based R&D because it appears for brand spanking new enterprise development alternatives in a cooling world smartphone market, Nikkei reviews.
“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,” stated 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 develop into “a global innovative AI platform rather than just a manufacturing company”.
Data put out this week by Strategy Analytics information a 9 per cent fall in world 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 Strategy Analytics’ Linda Sui in a press release.
On a full-year foundation, the analysts information world smartphone shipments rising 1 % — topping 1.5 billion items for the primary time.
But there’s little doubt the smartphone development 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. Though Cupertino nonetheless managed to carve out extra income (thanks to that $1k iPhone X price-tag). But these sort 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.
According to Nikkei, Foxconn intends to recruit up to 100 prime AI consultants globally. It additionally stated it’ll recruit hundreds of much less skilled builders to work on constructing functions that use machine studying and deep studying applied sciences.
Embedding sensors into manufacturing line tools to seize information to feed AI-fueled automation improvement is a key a part of the AI R&D plan, with Foxconn saying earlier that it desires to provide superior manufacturing experiences and providers — eyeing competing with the likes of General Electric and Cisco.
The firm has additionally been working with Andrew Ng’s new AI startup Landing.ai — which is itself centered 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 can be a key accomplice as Foxconn works in direction of its personal AI-fueled transformation — utilizing tech introduced in by way of Landing.ai to assist rework the manufacturing course of, and establish and predict defects.
Quite what such AI-powered transformation may imply for the roles of lots of of hundreds of people at present employed by Foxconn on meeting line duties is much less clear. But it appears like these employees can be serving to to prepare AI fashions that would find yourself changing their labor by way of automation.
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