Apple set to smarten up Siri with some help from Google

05 April, 2018, 01:03 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • Google headquarters./FILE

The company segregated Giannandrea's role into two individual units, AI and search, now lead by Jeff Dean and Ben Gomes respectively. The Cupertino based tech giant paid attention to what its fan base was saying and chose to answer their worries by launching the innovative looking iPhone X. In his new role at Apple, Giannandrea will lead the company's "machine learning and AI strategy". The hire is being flagged as a major victory for Apple, which has always been viewed as lagging behind its rivals Google, Facebook and Amazon when it comes to AI.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

The Cupertino, Calif., company started its push into artificial intelligence with the 2011 debut of the Siri voice-controlled digital assistant.

Apple has hired John Giannandrea, Google's former chief of search and artificial intelligence, as part of the company's efforts to boost its AI arm.

He joined Google in 2010 when it purchased Metaweb, a start-up where he served as chief technology officer. Apple's emphasis on privacy and security of user data also means it has had to work on training AI algorithms without large-scale data collection. The Information reports that Giannandrea is remaining at the company to focus and return to AI research where he originally began at Google.

It is also expected that Apple will use Giannandrea's experience to improve its own facial recognition software for correctly tagging users' photos, and for turning Siri into a more able and intelligent smart home assistant - an area where Apple lags behind the competition. Only in the past year or so has Apple loosen its grip on its researchers enough to allow them to publish papers in the AI community.

Blogger and Apple commentator John Gruber said that Giannandrea's appointment may come to be regarded as "one of the most significant Apple executive hires ever". Apple's investment in Giannandrea isn't just about hiring the biggest name in AI, it's about finally giving Siri someone that understands what it is and what it's capable of doing. As Apple has taken a strict stance on protecting the privacy of people who use its devices and online services, it could put them at a disadvantage when building newer, sophisticated services using neural networks.

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