Monday October 17, 2016 2:48 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that Japan has a big part to play in the company's ongoing development of AI, as he continued his travels around the country via bullet train on Monday. Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook revealed that Apple's new advanced R&D center in Yokohama, currently scheduled for completion in December, would focus on "deep engineering" and would be "very different" from the R&D base Apple is building in China, without giving away specifics. Photo via Tim Cook However, Cook intimated that one of its main focuses would be on developing Apple's artificial intelligence services – which recently drew some criticism in the press – and emphasized that the company wanted to leverage specifically Japanese expertise in the field. "AI is horizontal in nature, running across all products, and is used in ways that most people don't even think about," said Cook. "We want the AI to increase your battery life, to recommend music to Apple Music subscribers... [to] help you remember where you parked your car."Japan's robotics heritage is legendary, coming on the back of years of successfully building industrial robots, however the state of its AI research remains ambiguous, given its relative lack of investment in deep learning from large amounts of analyzed data, which U.S. companies like Facebook and Google are already heavily researching. To improve on this front, Japan has just opened a Center for Advanced Integrated Intelligence Research in Tokyo (RIKEN), which specifically aims to develop systems of AI that will be able to solve problems using "Big Data"