Sony turns to AI for new revenue streams, invests in Cogitai

The electronics giant is giving an undisclosed sum to a company that aims to develop continual learning AI.

Unable to rely on the smartphone market for growth, Sony is seeking out new revenue streams, including artificial intelligence. It's starting its new commitment to AI by investing an undisclosed sum in Cogitai, a California company less than a year old.

Cogitai aims to build AI systems that continuously learn from experiences, "in ways reminiscent of how human children do," Dr. Satinder Singh, the firm's chief scientist, said in a statement.

Toshimoto Mitomo, Sony's head of intellectual property and mid-to-longterm business development, said his company is "deeply aware of how previous claims in AI have failed to pan out."

Still, he said, "As strategic investors, we believe that continual learning is the core of future AI." Furthermore, he added, "We believe that Cogitai has assembled the people and tools necessary to make rapid progress toward real, continual learning A and to harness this technology for the betterment of society through innovative commercial applications."

Sony executive Hiroaki Kitano told Reuters that the electronics maker is "lagging behind" other tech giants that have started investing in AI, such as Facebook and Google.

"But there are still unexplored areas - some in cyberspace but vastly more in the physical world," he said. "And we have a number of products in the physical world. We make hardware. That's our strength."

Kitano said Sony's partnership with Cogitai should lead to the introduction of a new product or service as early as next year.

In the meantime, Sony is also looking for more revenue in the Internet of Things, with investments in IoT chip technology and the development of new wearable devices.

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