Sony AI Opens New Office in Barcelona

- June 14, 2024

Sony AI, a division of Sony Research, has announced the opening of its newest office for artificial intelligence (AI) research and development in Barcelona, one of the fastest growing hubs for creativity and innovation in Europe. 

Funded in 2020, this organization pursues groundbreaking research in AI and robotics. Fueled by the mission to “unleash human imagination and creativity with AI”, Sony AI combines cutting-edge research with Sony’s technology in imaging and sensing, robotics, entertainment, music and gaming. This powerful combination not only aims to transform Sony into an AI leader but also to create completely new opportunities for their business.

Barcelona’s pioneering spirit perfectly aligns with Sony AI’s mission. “Barcelona has a storied history of scientific, artistic, and culinary experimentation, as well as connections to some of the world’s most renowned trailblazers, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. The region is also home to many research universities with established AI programs and key technology and science organizations,” said Michael Spranger, President of Sony AI.

“We are proud to extend our work in support of creators into this open-minded and innovative environment, and learn from and work with the community,” added the executive.

The technology giant has already established similar innovation centers in Switzerland, Japan and the United States. By opening this fourth location, Sony AI, demonstrates its commitment with advancing imagination and creativity through AI globally. Also, this decision to move into Catalunya highlights the region’s role as a top-tier ecosystem in Europe for scientific and technological development.

The office will be located near Plaça Catalunya and will mainly focus on Sony AI’s newest Flagship Project, Scientific Discovery, led by Senior Research Scientist Tarek Besold. Sony AI is currently pursuing six Flagship Projects, which include advancing AI for creators, gaming and interactive experiences, AI ethics, imaging and sensing and robotics. 

This Flagship project aims to accelerate mapping of the world’s scientific knowledge and support the pursuit of Nobel-Prize-worthy solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Additionally, this location will also serve as a hub for Sony AI’s gastronomy-related research, such as exploring  AI applications to increase our understanding of flavors and smells, and how these can contribute to multisensory entertainment experiences.

According to Besold, “Barcelona is a city where boundaries are pushed and ideas flourish. As we grow our body of research in Scientific Discovery, I am eager to witness how the region’s mindset serves as a catalyst for inspiration within our organization,” stated Besold. “We look forward to collaborating with the local AI research community, working with the talented scientists and engineers in the region, and contributing to and raising awareness of its thriving technology ecosystem.”

Supporting this vision, Roger Torrent i Ramió, Minister of Business and Labour of the Catalan Government, added, “We look forward to building bridges for collaboration between Sony and the local ecosystem of universities, research centers, startups, and companies to contribute to the development of artificial intelligence in Barcelona, as this technology will define business competitiveness in the coming years.”

Sony AI’s arrival strengthens Barcelona’s tech scene, which already includes the presence of big tech players like Amazon, HP, Microsoft and Intel. Alongside a vibrant network of hundreds of startups.

This influx of AI expertise will likely fuel further innovation in the city, foster new collaboration between startups and major players, and create exciting opportunities for Barcelona’s tech professionals.