Apple Expanding Seattle Hub Working on AI and Machine Learning

iOS 9 SiriApple will expand its presence in downtown Seattle, where it has a growing team working on artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, according to GeekWire.

The report claims Apple will expand into additional floors in Two Union Square, and this will allow its Turi team to move into the building and provide space for future employees.

“We’re trying to find the best people who are excited about AI and machine learning — excited about research and thinking long term but also bringing those ideas into products that impact and delight our customers,” said computer scientist Carlos Guestrin, Apple director of machine learning. “The bar is high, but we’re going to be hiring as quickly as we can find people that meet our high bar, which is exciting.”

Apple's director of machine learning Carlos Guestrin, who founded Turi and is a University of Washington professor, said the Seattle team collaborates "extensively" with groups at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, including working on new AI features for upcoming Apple products and services.

Guestrin said AI, for example, will enable the iPhone to be more understanding and predictive in the future:

“But what’s going to make a major difference in the future, in addition to those things, for me to be emotionally connected to this device, is the intelligence that it has — how much it understands me, how much it can predict what I need and what I want, and how valuable it is at being a companion to me,” he said. “AI is going to be at the core of that, and we’re going to be some of the people who help with that, here in Seattle, but of course there will be tons of groups in Cupertino doing amazing things with that, too.”

Guestrin said Apple is doing long-term research in Seattle, looking ahead "three to 10 years," while also focusing on the near term by developing new features for upcoming Apple products.

"We work on the whole spectrum," he said. "It's not just about doing research, but it's about the technology transfer and how that gets embedded into experiences that customers love."

Today, the University of Washington will reportedly announce a new $1 million endowed professorship in AI and machine learning, which is said to have been made possible by Apple's acquisition of Turi last year. The endowment is named after Guestrin, and it will allow the university to attract more top talent in the field.

Last month, Apple became a member of the Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society".

A recent report, which referenced Turi, said Apple is working on "enhanced" Siri capabilities for next-generation iPhones.

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Top Rated Comments

ignatius345 Avatar
95 months ago
I should hope so. Dictation aside, Siri is totally useless.

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Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
csurfr Avatar
95 months ago
How about an Apple Store in Downtown Seattle, please!
What you said.

Not that U Village is too far away. But I loathe Bellevue and Southcenter
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
95 months ago
Currently, AI is what the original Macintosh was to raw hardware performance. It's in its very, very early stages, and the real winners will be crowned in the next couple of decades, not right now. We're a far cry from Star Trek TNG/VOY.

I'm only saying this as there is a lot of negativity about Siri and other services, so it's quite important not to take a short-term view of the situation.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
95 months ago
If it's anonymized and stays with Apple, what's the big deal? I mean, a lawyer and a psychiatrist also has to keep your information private, and you also only have their word and integrity to go by.
Except if a lawyer or doctor negligently breeches their respective client or patient confidentiality they lose their license to practice and also open themselves up to being sued personally. They can be financially ruined for life.

If a hacker busts into a cloud account the professional or legal risk to the storage company is much more of an embarrassment than an existential event. There are data breeches of big companies all the time -- Yahoo has suffered 3 just recently. It suffered a cut in the value VZW offered to pay for it but it didn't put them out of business. In the past two years there have been data breeches of health insurance companies, credit card processors, the IRS!. Linkedin has been hacked as has Dropbox. None of these organizations suffered in the way and attorney or doctor would if their systems were hacked or paper files stolen.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RowellE Avatar
95 months ago
How about an Apple Store in Downtown Seattle, please!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HJM.NL Avatar
95 months ago
That's just it , people think cloud is somehow hackable, once your DATA is in the cloud no one else has access to it unless you authorize it..we are talking Gen 6 PEU 1.3 DataCenters here, they MUST have to have ultimate trust and SLA's or no business would use them. Apl tries to scare you into thinking you need "throw away the key" privacy..its all for advertising an selling iphones and not the way the world works. Apl is an outlier on this privacy thing , it'll be their downfall as they can not keep up without utilizing cloud.

Its like trying to run a business never using Internet

No company can. you don't use cloud you will simply cease to exist eventually.
There is a lot only Apple can get away with. Per example selling 4 year old hardware for exact the same price 4 years ago. Name one other tech company who's able to get away like that.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)