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Samsung pushing for an NPU that will operate 'at the level of a human brain'

We can hear the Terminator theme song playing softly in the distance.

Published onJune 18, 2019

The Samsung logo.

In news that some might say suggests the beginnings of Skynet, Samsung is working on neural processing units (NPUs) that will, eventually, be equivalent to the processing power of the human brain.

That’s not us just being wildly speculative, either. The direct quote from Samsung’s press release on the matter is as follows: “Samsung’s R&D arm [plans] to extend and evolve the company’s current NPU research into novel AI hardware technologies such as neuromorphic processors that aim to operate at the level of a human brain.”

Samsung tipped to be working on NPU: Could Galaxy S10, Note 10 offer AI silicon?
A Samsung Exynos chip.

In general, computers are already faster than the human brain when it comes to processing simple tasks. Computers start to lag behind the brain when you introduce not-so-simple tasks such as driving a car on a busy pedestrian street or diagnosing a psychiatric condition in a hospital patient.

It appears Samsung is ready to invest both time and financial resources into closing this gap. According to the company’s statement, it is going to create 2,000 jobs related to NPU development by 2030, which is a ten-fold increase as compared to today. The company will also expand its current partnerships with universities and research facilities.

Samsung’s first NPU is available with its Exynos 9820 mobile chipset, the one that debuted in the international editions of the Samsung Galaxy S10 family. This chipset allows certain AI functionality to occur on the device rather than in the cloud.

We are still years (probably decades) away from an NPU on the same level as a human brain, but Samsung seems pretty gung ho about getting there as quickly as possible.

NEXT: Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, S10e, and S10 5G

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