SEOUL -- NCSOFT Corp., South Korea's biggest online game publisher, said Thursday that artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of the burgeoning industry and will eventually transform the overall landscape.
The maker of Lineage, a popular multiplayer online role-playing game, unveiled its latest research and achievements in AI technology. The company currently operates two AI divisions directly controlled by its CEO Kim Taek-jin -- the Artificial Intelligence Center and Natural Language Processing Center -- with a combined workforce of some 100 engineers.
"NCSOFT's AI is a technological tool that solves problems," Lee Jae-jun, an engineer who heads the Artificial Intelligence Center, told reporters in Pangyo, just south of Seoul, adding that the AI technology under development will eventually provide new experiences for users.
NCSOFT has invested heavily in AI since 2011, when CEO Kim designated the sector as a new growth engine not only for the company but also for the entire gaming industry. "The world is changing with AIs 'learning' to process data," Kim was quoted by the company as saying. "NCSOFT will prepare for the upcoming AI era by continuously investing in AI technology."
NCSOFT said it will expand its workforce and R&D in an aim to bring in talented AI experts. Currently, NCSOFT is closely working with 12 university labs specializing in AI, including the country's top schools, such as Seoul National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
Among various AI sectors, NCSOFT is focusing on natural language processing, a field of computational linguistics concerned with interactions between computers and humans. "Humans and AI will be able to communicate and exchange information naturally with AI technology," Jang Jung-seon, a director of the Natural Language Processing Center, said. "It is one of our goals to build an AI friend that can provide information that a user is most interested in and can answer questions raised."
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