Apple Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Perceptio
Apple has purchased Perceptio, a small startup focused on artificial intelligence, reports Bloomberg. Founded by Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, Perceptio was developing technology that would let smartphone companies create advanced artificial intelligence systems "without needing to share as much user data" in the cloud.
Perceptio's goals were to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones, without having to draw from large external repositories of data. That fits Apple's strategy of trying to minimize its usage of customer data and do as much processing as possible on the device.
According to Bloomberg, both Stone and Pinto are established artificial intelligence researchers who specialize in creating image-recognition systems using deep learning. There's little information available about Perceptio, but Re/code profiled the company last year.
The duo were working on privacy-based artificial intelligence, figuring out how to run complex neural network algorithms on smartphones. Before being acquired by Apple, they were working on facial recognition technology and had released an unrelated video sharing app called Smoothie.
Apple confirmed the purchase with its standard acquisition statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Apple's Siri personal assistant has lagged behind competing services like Google Now and Microsoft Cortana because of Apple's strict privacy policies and its reluctance to collect and utilize user data. It's possible the purchase of Perceptio will allow Apple to improve Siri without compromising on its dedication to user privacy.
Perceptio is the second Siri-related purchase Apple has made within the last few weeks. Apple also recently acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based startup that created a natural language API to allow computers and people to have a more natural dialogue.