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Sony AI unit launches to push R&D in gaming, cameras and food

Get ready for robot gastronomy.
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A Sony Corp. Aibo robotic dog is demonstrated during the Ceatec Japan 2019 consumer electronics show on October 15, 2019 in Chiba, Japan Tomohiro Ohsumi via Getty Images

Ever since Sony announced the return of Aibo in 2016, it's increasingly focused on developing AI technology to push its products. Now it's established Sony AI which will have offices in Japan, Europe and the US focused on bringing "world class fundamental research and development with Sony's unique technical assets." While that includes robotics like its recently-updated puppy bot, it's also all about the company's Imaging & Sensing business, as well as entertainment like movies and games.

The first three areas it's focusing on are gaming, imaging & sensing, and gastronomy. As for that last one, a concept video Sony released last year proposed the idea of "robot gastronomomy" that relied on autonomous tech to cook food at home or even on a night out. Sony AI global head Hiroaki Kitano previously led a cooking robot collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, and it will be interesting to see what it develops there.

The application of advanced AI has shown up in products like the A6600 camera, where it contributes to an impressive improvement in autofocus, while opportunities for machine learning and AI in gaming are obvious, when it's applied to improving cloud gaming or just making enemy characters a bit smarter.

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