LG Electronics is betting big on AI-controlled smart appliances

Image: Mashable / Bridget Bennett

Have you ever wanted to have a conversation with your refrigerator?

LG Electronics announced today at CES 2018 its brand new lineup of home appliances. The big takeaway is the company is essentially doubling-down on its smart home initiative by adding artificial intelligence to all of its smart appliances.

Now, they’re all controlled by voice commands.

“Last year, we added Wi-Fi to all of our home appliances,” said LG’s vice president of marketing, David Vanderwaal, during the company’s press conference. “This year we’re adding LG ThinQ, our AI platform, to all of our appliances.”

LG ThinQ will bring deep learning and interoperability to the company’s smart products. This basically means the appliances will have the ability to learn habits over time and communicate with each other. For example, if LG ThinQ knows that you have a gym workout on your calendar, it will prepare your washing machine with the “gym clothes” setting for when you return. 

Our favorite implementation of this is easily in the kitchen. The new LG InstaView ThinQ refrigerator let’s you do all of the things last year’s model can: It can show you weather, grocery lists, let you leave notes, and tell you what’s inside your fridge. But the cool part happens when you dig a little deeper.

Image: mashable / bridget bennett

When you select an item in your fridge (let’s say, chicken), you can choose a recipe directly on the fridge. When you select a recipe, LG ThinQ will automatically communicate your choice to the LG smart oven, and begin pre-heating the oven.

Another cool that LG ThinQ brings to these smart appliances is the ability for self-diagnostics. The company claims the AI can detect issues before they occur on any of its smart home appliances and automatically notify the user. It will also relay that information to a call center or the company’s engineers for faster repair times.

Image: mashable / bridget bennett

Of course, all of this is controlled by your voice. LG is launching its own home robot called CLOi that connects all of the different smart home products and responds to voice commands.

As we pointed out in our coverage of the press conference, CLOi is a less-than-perfect system at the moment, so we suspect that most people will choose other options: specifically, we think most people will use Google Home or Amazon Echo to control these kinds of appliances.

One of the big victories for the ThinQ artificial intelligence platform is its integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This means that you can ultimately use some of the most popular voice-controlled smart speakers to manage your home appliances.

It’s a major victory for Google and Amazon’s digital assistants, which are increasingly battling for control of the smart home market. Let’s go ahead and call this round a draw.

For more complete coverage, check out our official CES 2018 page, where we’ll be frequently updating with the latest from the conference.

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