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Sony launches AI joint venture with US, Japanese partners

Tokyo-based group opens up after years of independent development

TOKYO -- Sony has launched a new joint venture to help companies collect data and develop programs for artificial intelligence, a field it hopes to foster into a stable source of earnings.

Named Ghelia, the new company was established by Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Japanese AI venture UEI and startup incubator World Innovation Lab, which has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. UEI President Ryo Shimizu is expected to serve as president and Sony CSL chief Hiroaki Kitano as chairman. WiL is also expected to be represented on the board.

UEI has strength in software development. Through the joint venture, UEI aims to create a platform that provides essential services for companies incorporating AI into their business.

Sony's research and development in machine learning dates back to before 2000 and has gone into its Aibo robot dog, among other products. But the Japanese group had never collaborated with outside partners on AI. That policy changed in June, when the company made its AI development software open source. Sony now aiming to monetize its endeavors in AI with help from new partners., Google and other tech giants have entered the crowded AI field, which holds the promise of stable earnings if companies can find ways of linking it to a user ecosystem.


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