How A.I. Is Reshaping the Home Theater

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How A.I. Is Reshaping the Home Theater

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What's the Cost?
Incorporating AI into the Yamaha products hasn't exactly been breaking the bank for the company, apparently. Although Shea provided no specifics on how much it's costing his company to develop this sort of artificial intelligence: "The processing that is required to make Surround:AI possible is already available in previous, higher-end AVENTAGE models. In fact, prices for the models that incorporate artificial intelligence are no more expensive than older models in the same class." 

Like Yamaha, Netflix declined to provide any specifics on how much cost was involved with AI. It seems obvious, however, that it's a lot easier for a large company like either of those two (or Samsung) to afford either the creation of its own AI algorithms--which typically involves, at the very least, AI specialists to be employed by the company--or to pay another company for AI. Yamaha noted that Surround:AI was created internally and not based on another company's AI.

Although AI project costs vary based on the specific work being done, custom software developer Azati Software says on its blog that typical prototype development costs are about $25,000 and it then costs a minimum of $35,000 to $100,000 to develop a viable product with functional features based on the prototype. It adds: "While a few years ago only the likes of Google, Microsoft and Facebook could afford to develop ML-powered software, now a large number of companies can do this as well [due to] the emergence of various tools, libraries, and frameworks for building ML-based software." 

Guarded Optimism About AI
Sayon_Deb.jpgBased on the results of an online AI Consumer Sentiments study that the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) conducted in fall 2018 of about 2,000 adults of all age ranges, consumers had mixed feelings about the technology, according to CTA senior analyst Sayon Deb. The CTA found that three in four of the people surveyed indicated they had at least seen or heard "a little" about AI developments and there was a "high degree of awareness" among the respondents about whether or not products used AI.

When "we dug a little bit deeper" to get the impressions of the respondents, however, "the first thing that came up in their minds is robots," he noted, adding: "When you say AI, people think of robots, so the biggest misconceptions" about AI have been the technology's association with science-fiction movies including The Terminator and the apocalyptic scenarios that are presented in them. About 71 percent of those surveyed said AI could create unintended problems and about the same number said it could be used for malicious reasons, he said.

Despite such fears, overall, consumers surveyed seemed to have "guarded optimism" about AI and seemed to "understand the value-add from these sort of intelligent services can improve and enhance their lives, as well as their productivity," he said, adding that many consumers seemed to be aware that AI could potentially lead to new discoveries and free up their time to do more creative work and can also create new types of jobs. At the same time, he said, many consumers were still waiting to see if devices using AI would improve, so they were waiting to buy such devices.

Although the impression of killer robots or fears over losing jobs from AI implementation were "definitely overblown," he warned it's "critical for companies that are currently developing AI solutions to really pay attention to consumer concerns." What we have now are still "very narrow uses of AI" and more complex AI likely won't arrive until "far into the future," he predicted. But consumers "have the right to sort of worry about privacy and that is something that continues to be an issue that is still evolving, and ultimately consumers will have to choose where on the spectrum of the privacy do they feel the most comfortable," he said, noting CTA recommends that its members companies and companies designing AI solutions "really be transparent about AI applications in consumer devices and services."

O'Donnell at TECHnalysis Research, meanwhile, classified AI as a "mixed bag" so far. He praised its use in the Samsung and Yamaha devices and said it's good that AI is being used to help consumers find more of the content they like and might not know about. But, he said, "the problem is, in order to do that, it wants to basically kind of see everything else you've already been watching, for example, in the case of content, and then compare that against everybody else." Similar to CTA's Deb, he predicted that "what you're going to see eventually start to happen is you're going to be able to get some of the personalization without having to share all of your data to some cloud-based service because, over time, what's going to develop, I believe, is recommendation engines that can run locally on your smart TV or on your other connected device and, from that, be able to ... give you the benefits without some of the current downsides around privacy and security."

Much of this trepidation is fueled by the fact that certain early smart TV apps were monitoring what consumers were watching and not letting them know that they were doing that, he said. Some consumers heard about that and "turned some of these capabilities off because obviously most of them have the capability to be turned off--but it's frustrating for people to have them turned on by default," he noted, adding: "You should have to opt in to something like that as opposed to opt out."

How many of you have devices that use AI and what concerns, if any, do you have about the technology? Let us know in the comments section below.

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