Samsung Malaysia has announced that its AI assistant Bixby has picked up the ability to converse in Mandarin Chinese. The update to Bixby is aimed at those who are more comfortable speaking Chinese, and shows how much progress Samsung has made in catching up with other AI assistants.
Bixby is integrated into Samsung’s native apps, particularly functions like Bixby Home, Reminder, and Vision. It also allows voice commands for select third party apps.
Rolling out Mandarin support on Bixby this quickly is a massive change from the initial launch of the AI assistant. The company had originally delayed the global release due to problems with getting AI to speak English. A rapid re-organisation saw the problems ironed out; but only after Bixby missed the launch of the Galaxy S8 by two months.
At the moment, Bixby lags behind competitors like Google Assistant and Siri; speaking only English, Korean, and Mandarin. Adding Mandarin as the third language makes sense as China is a huge market for every smartphone maker; not to mention that the Chinese dialect has a very large number of speakers across the globe.
Bixby will also be learning other regional dialects of Chinese. This may take a longer time to decipher, but Samsung is confident that that the “natural language-understanding ability” of Bixby will allow the AI to train itself over time.