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Apple Purchases AI Device Startup Silk Labs

Apple has acquired Silk Labs, an AI startup that focuses on making AI software "lightweight enough" for consumer hardware like cameras and speakers, reports The Information.

Apple purchased Silk Labs, a small startup with approximately a dozen employees, earlier this year. Silk's website says that it aims to "bring next-generation visual and audio intelligence to connected products" with "state-of-the-art image and audio recognition."


Silk's site suggests its technology has a number of potential uses for home security, retail analytics, package monitoring, digital display metrics, access control, parking lot monitoring, and building surveillance with capabilities like people detection, facial recognition, audio detection, object recognition.

Silk used to have a blog where its technology was explained, but it is defunct, as is the company's Twitter account, which has not been updated since 2017. The company's website, does, however, provide insight into its technology, though there's no word on how Apple might be planning to use it. Silk, like Apple, is said to be focused on a privacy-forward AI experience.

The company did come out with a product called Sense, which debuted on Kickstarter three years ago. Sense was designed to be a "digital brain" for smart home products, communicating with them to improve interoperability and to learn a person's smart home needs over time.

The startup was founded by Andreas Gal, Chris Jones, and Michael Vines, with Gal previously serving as Mozilla's Chief Technology Officer.



Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago
Plot twist: Amber is the bicycle, not the person.
Rating: 10 Votes
4 weeks ago

Yet another company Apple buys and doesn't use to improve and innovate their software and products.


Like beats (Apple Music), intrinsity (a series chips), Siri (Siri), PrimeSense (face id), emagic (garageband), next (os x), authentec (touch id), workflow (shortcuts), ... ?
Rating: 6 Votes
4 weeks ago
AI upgrade with 9yo mod pack



Isn't everyone tired of those fake marketing pictures yes? First of all the AI got the number of bicycles wrong, and then it's not your friend Amber, but Amber (?) acting like she's ringing (a random) door bell, while some guy is taking her picture. I wish I had just 1 % of the money Apple is flushing down here.
Rating: 6 Votes
4 weeks ago

Been frustrated with both platforms (Google & Apple) at times, equally, for different reasons.

Agreed. I think most of us can agree with that statement.

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I just hope they consider security along with their privacy stance on these things. Tech security has become such a sieve anymore that almost nothing is safe from attack, breach or just plain old human error like leaving the front door open.

I'm very happy for Apple's stance on privacy even if it means Siri sucks as it does. I gladly take that over Google or Amazon's smart devices that listen to everything and email your family and friends your private conversations!
Rating: 5 Votes
4 weeks ago

When your bank account is hacked because someone gained access to the mountain of data being collected on you including reading your emails and transcripts of conversations with your bank, you will change your mind. It happened 3 times with a coworker who used her Android phone as her computer. Changed passwords, hacked, then closed the account still hacked again, changed to a Credit Union, next payday hacked. Got rid of her Android like I suggested from the start, no more hacks.

Privacy is a function of Security. The more information that is stored outside of your control, the more likely you will be hacked.


The really mind-blowing part is that everybody is willing to believe that those simple assistants like Siri need "the cloud" * to function. Once the voice-to-text part is done (which was a feature that IBM OS/2 Warp 4 already had built in back in the early 1990s), these things are text parsers. You know, just like the ones we had in the old Infocom text adventures from the late 1970s/early 1980s -- and the Infocom text adventures already could do more with human language than Siri can do today. This whole "cloud" integration is just ridiculous - and nothing but a ploy to grab as much user data as possible.


* There is no "cloud". It's just someone else's computer. (TM)
Rating: 4 Votes
4 weeks ago

I don't care too much about privacy. That narrative for me is not why I have been in the Apple ecosystem.

If they improve Siri all around, then I'll turn it back on all my Apple devices.

When your bank account is hacked because someone gained access to the mountain of data being collected on you including reading your emails and transcripts of conversations with your bank, you will change your mind. It happened 3 times with a coworker who used her Android phone as her computer. Changed passwords, hacked, then closed the account still hacked again, changed to a Credit Union, next payday hacked. Got rid of her Android like I suggested from the start, no more hacks.

Privacy is a function of Security. The more information that is stored outside of your control, the more likely you will be hacked.
Rating: 3 Votes
4 weeks ago

Yet another company Apple buys and doesn't use to improve and innovate their software and products.

Yet another comment about Apple buying a company and not using it to improve and innovate . . . . .

There have been improvements and changes across Apple’s entire line, from chip development, to massive improvements of Maps, and clear improvements to and integration of Siri. But these comments along with the “can’t beat em, buy em” comments are easy low-brow one-liners to toss out with nearly every thread.
Rating: 2 Votes
4 weeks ago

What's the grand plan because there's been no improvement to Siri from these acquisitions and hirings like the Google AI chief from six months ago?

https://www.reddit.com/r/sirifail


I doubt that there’s been “no improvement” just because you found a reddit.
Rating: 2 Votes
4 weeks ago

Agreed. I think most of us can agree with that statement.

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I'm very happy for Apple's stance on privacy even if it means Siri sucks as it does. I gladly take that over Google or Amazon's smart devices that listen to everything and email your family and friends your private conversations!


Siri sucking (which it does, massively) is nothing at all to do with privacy, its more to do with a flawed design. They screwed up with Siri and are so deep in that its hard to fix now. Even something as simple as adding a new command means rolling out a new update AND creating that command on no less than SIX different iterations of Siri (there is not 1 Siri, there are multiple forks of the project, one for each OS Apple makes, as has already been widely established many times.

Siri is without a doubt a complete and utter failure. The fact that it still fails at the most basic of tasks and questions is just shameful.
Rating: 2 Votes
4 weeks ago
My built in RI Software says:



Rating: 2 Votes

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