Apple Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Perceptio

siri_ios_7_iconApple 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.

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Top Rated Comments

JCrz Avatar
114 months ago
Pretty soon Siri will be deciding what company will be acquired next.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
penajmz Avatar
114 months ago
iPhone 7 will be one impressive phone going by all of these recent acquisitions.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
modulusshift Avatar
114 months ago
Yeah, this has nothing to do with Siri, more autotagging photos.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bommai Avatar
114 months ago
Pretty soon Siri will be deciding what company will be acquired next.
That's exactly what "Samaritan" AI from the TV show "Person of Interest" did. One of my favorite shows and it was not renewed for a full season by CBS. Damn!!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
elmaco Avatar
114 months ago
iPhone 7 will be one impressive phone going by all of these recent acquisitions.
I doubt they will have time to put the technology into iPhone 7, unless they are just going to rebrand an existing app that is already developed, tested etc. (which doesn't seem to be the case).

It will take time for transfer of control and get developers up to speed with Apple infrastructure, source code, processes and then integrate/adapt the technology. Also, product development team has most likely already decided what is going into he next generation phone. Betting on some new technology they know little about, from guys they never worked with, this late, doesn't seem likely.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Markoth Avatar
114 months ago
Honestly, this probably has nothing to do with Siri. Even the article itself doesn't mention voice-recognition until the author of the article chimes in with theories about some sort of relationship with Siri. Seems to be about image-classification, which is more the realm of the Photos app, or something related.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)