artificial intelligence


'artificial intelligence' Articles

Apple Expands Its Machine Learning Hub in Downtown Seattle

Apple has expanded its office space at Two Union Square, a 56-story office tower in Downtown Seattle, according to GeekWire. The report claims Apple will soon occupy five floors inside the skyscraper, up from a floor-and-a-half of space it originally leased, based on permits filed with the city and the publication's own visits to the building. The expansion gives Apple more than 70,000 square feet of space, enough for potentially close to 500 people, the report adds. Last year, Apple confirmed that its Seattle engineering hub is focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, technologies that power the likes of Siri and advanced facial recognition on the iPhone X. Apple's jobs website lists 19 open positions in its Seattle office in a variety of fields, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart home automation, cloud computing, and natural language processing. Apple's senior director of artificial intelligence and machine learning Carlos Guestrin back in February 2017: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. 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.Seattle has become a hotbed for technology companies because of its talent pool and lower cost of living compared with the San Francisco area, with Amazon, Facebook, and Google among the tech giants with offices in the region. Last

Apple Hires Google's Chief of Search and Artificial Intelligence

Apple has snapped up John Giannandrea, who today stepped down from his position as the head of Google's search and artificial intelligence unit, reports The New York Times. According to Apple, Giannandrea will run Apple's overall "machine learning and A.I. strategy," reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. In an email sent out to employees and obtained by The New York Times, Cook had high praise for Giannandrea. "John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal," he said. "Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear." Giannandrea's hiring comes as Apple has recently faced criticism for Siri, the AI-based personal assistant built into products like Macs, iPhones, iPads, the Apple TV, and the HomePod. Many believe Siri has serious shortcomings in comparison to AI offerings from other companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google due to Apple's heavy focus on privacy. The Information, for example, recently shared an in-depth look at Siri and how it has become a "major problem" for the company due to rushed development and poor communication between teams. At Google, Giannandrea, a senior vice president, was involved in the push to integrate artificial intelligence throughout Google products, including internet search, Gmail, and Google Assistant. Prior to joining Apple, Giannandrea spent 10 years at Google, joining the company following Google's acquisition of Metaweb, a startup where he worked as a chief technology officer. In recent years, Apple has been

Apple Shares Research into Self-Driving Car Software That Improves Obstacle Detection

Apple computer scientists working on autonomous vehicle technology have posted a research paper online describing how self-driving cars can spot cyclists and pedestrians using fewer sensors (via Reuters). The paper by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel was submitted to the moderated scientific pre-print repository arXiv on November 17, in what appears to be Apple's first publicly disclosed research on autonomous vehicle technology. The paper is titled "End-to-End Learning for Point Cloud Based 3D Object Detection", and describes how new software developed by Apple scientists improves the ability of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems to recognize objects including pedestrians and cyclists from a distance. Self-driving cars typically use a combination of standard cameras and depth-sensing LiDAR units to receive information about the world around them. Apple's research team said they were able to get "highly encouraging results" using LiDAR data alone to spot cyclists and pedestrians, and wrote that they were also able to beat other approaches for detecting 3D objects that rely solely on LiDAR tech. The experiments were limited to computer simulations and did not advance to road tests. Apple famously has a secretive research policy and has kept its work under wraps for many years, but over the last 12 months, the company has shared some of its research advancements with other researchers and the wider public, particularly in the area of machine learning. In December 2016, Apple said that it would start allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to pu

Industry Group Representing Apple and Google Releases AI Policy Principles

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), an industry group that represents several tech companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, this week released Artificial Intelligence Policy Principles [PDF] covering responsible and ethical artificial intelligence development. "We recognize our responsibility to integrate principles into the design of AI technologies, beyond compliance with existing laws," reads the document. AI researchers and stakeholders should "spend a great deal of time" working to ensure the "responsible design and deployment of AI systems." Some of the specific policies addressed are outlined below: Government: The ITI supports government investment in fields related to AI and encourages governments to evaluate existing tools and use caution before adopting new laws, regulations, and taxes that could impede the responsible development and use of AI. ITI also discourages governments from requiring tech companies to provide access to technology, source code, algorithms, and encryption keys. Public-Private Partnerships: Public-Private Partnerships should be utilized to speed up AI research and development, democratize access, prioritize diversity and inclusion, and prepare the workforce for the implications of artificial intelligence. Responsible Design and Deployment: Highly autonomous AI systems must be designed consistent with international conventions that preserve human dignity, rights, and freedoms. It is the industry's responsibility to recognize potential for misuse and commit to ethics by design. Safety and

Apple Hires AI Team From Init.ai to Join Work on Siri

Apple this week "acqui-hired" the team from Init.ai, a startup that designed a smart assistant to allow customer service representatives to easily parse through and automate some interactions with users, reports TechCrunch. The startup focused on creating an AI with natural language processing and machine learning to analyze chat-based conversations between humans. Init.ai announced that it was shutting down its service earlier this week to join a new project.Today is an exciting day for our team. Init.ai is joining a project that touches the lives of countless people across the world. We are thrilled and excited at the new opportunities this brings us. However, this means Init.ai will discontinue its service effective December 16th 2017. While we wish to make this transition as smooth as possible, we cannot continue to operate Init.ai going forward.Apple did not purchase Init.ai and will not obtain any intellectual property nor is there an indication that Apple plans to use any existing Init.ai services. Instead, Apple has taken on the Init.ai team, who will now work on Apple's Siri personal assistant. The addition of the Init.ai team may hint at Apple's future Siri plans, with the company perhaps planning to build out more business integrations to supplement Business Chat, the iOS 11 iMessage feature that allows businesses to communicate with customers. TechCrunch says it's not entirely clear how many people from Init.ai will be transitioning to Apple, but the startup only employed six

Apple Updates Machine Learning Journal With Three Articles on Siri Technology

Back in July, Apple introduced the "Apple Machine Learning Journal," a blog detailing Apple's work on machine learning, AI, and other related topics. The blog is written entirely by Apple's engineers, and gives them a way to share their progress and interact with other researchers and engineers. Apple today published three new articles to the Machine Learning Journal, covering topics that are based on papers Apple will share this week at Interspeech 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. The first article may be the most interesting to casual readers, as it explores the deep learning technology behind the Siri voice improvements introduced in iOS 11. The other two articles cover the technology behind the way dates, times, and other numbers are displayed, and the work that goes into introducing Siri in additional languages. Links to all three articles are below: Deep Learning for Siri's Voice: On-device Deep Mixture Density Networks for Hybrid Unit Selection Synthesis Inverse Text Normalization as a Labeling Problem Improving Neural Network Acoustic Models by Cross-bandwidth and Cross-lingual Initialization Apple is notoriously secret and has kept its work under wraps for many years, but over the course of the last few months, the company has been open to sharing some of its machine learning advancements. The blog, along with research papers, allows Apple engineers to participate in the wider AI community and may help the company retain employees who do not want to keep their progress a

Apple AI Expert's Full TED Talk Now Available on YouTube

Back in April, Apple product designer and Siri co-founder Tom Gruber gave a TED Talk, where he spoke about his vision of the future of computers and artificial intelligence. The full 10-minute TED Talk was today published on YouTube, giving us a chance to hear his complete thoughts on the future of AI and Siri. In his talk, Gruber says computers should be used to lessen human failings, like memory, and augment human capabilities. He believes computers should log all aspects of our lives, allowing us to remember the people we've met and details about them, like favorite sports, family members, and name pronunciation. Gruber's talk also covers the importance of privacy and a range of useful applications for AI, like cancer detection and advanced personal assistants like

Apple Developing 'Apple Neural Engine' Chip to Power AI in iOS Devices

Apple is developing a dedicated processor that will be used to handle AI-related tasks like facial and speech recognition in its products, reports Bloomberg. Citing a source with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site says the chip is known internally as the "Apple Neural Engine." Apple plans to use the chip, which would work alongside the standard processor and the graphics chip, to add more advanced artificial intelligence capabilities into its devices and to offload demanding AI processing tasks that can impact battery life.An AI-enabled processor would help Cupertino, California-based Apple integrate more advanced capabilities into devices, particularly cars that drive themselves and gadgets that run augmented reality, the technology that superimposes graphics and other information onto a person's view of the world.The chip could potentially handle tasks like facial recognition in the photos application, parts of speech recognition, and power the predictive keyboard in the iPhone and iPad. Apple may also allow developers to access the chip to power AI-related features in third-party apps. An AI chip would not be the first chip that handles dedicated tasks in the iPhone. Starting with the iPhone 5s in 2013, Apple devices have included a motion coprocessor used to collect and store sensor data. The motion coprocessor allows the iPhone and iPad to continually track movement and other sensor data without using significant battery. It also powers features like the always-on "Hey Siri" capability built into modern iPhones. Apple has already tested prototypes of future

Apple AI Expert Says Computers Should Augment Human Capabilities

Apple product designer and Siri co-founder Tom Gruber gave a TED Talk today, where he covered his vision of the future of computers and artificial intelligence. Both Axios and Business Insider shared details on his talk. According to Gruber, computers should be used to lessen human failings, like memory, and augment human capabilities. He believes computers should log every aspect of our lives, allowing us to remember every person we've met and every aspect about them, like favorite sports, family members, and name pronunciation."I believe AI will make personal memory enhancement a reality. I think it's inevitable," he said onstage, adding that he doesn't know when or how it will happen. [...] Gruber imagines that this kind of technology will not only be useful for satisfying data geeks who want to optimize their health and happiness, but it could also assist those who suffer from diseases like dementia and schizophrenia. "It's the difference between a life of isolation and one of dignity and connection," he said.Privacy, is of course, a key part of artificial intelligence and future computing capabilities. "We get to choose what is and is not recalled," said Gruber. "It's absolutely essential that this be kept very secure." Apple has already taken the first steps towards linking artificial intelligence and memory, with its Photos app. Photos on Mac and iOS devices includes a "Memories" feature that intelligently organizes photos into dynamic events that can be relived through the app. It also incorporates facial recognition and deep levels of privacy - facial

Apple Expanding Seattle Hub Working on AI and Machine Learning

Apple 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

Apple Formally Announced as 'Partnership on AI' Founding Member

Apple has formally joined the Partnership on AI as a founding member, confirming an earlier report, the organization announced today.Apple has joined the Partnership on AI as a founding member. The company has been involved and collaborating with the Partnership since before it was first announced and is thrilled to formalize its membership alongside Amazon, Facebook, Google/DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft.Siri co-founder Tom Gruber, who heads advanced development of the assistant at Apple, will serve on the Partnership's inaugural Board of Trustees. The Partnership on AI is a non-profit research consortium established in September 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," according to its website. Apple has always been notoriously secretive, but it recently started allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish papers. The company's contributions to the broader artificial intelligence research community could help it attract top talent that would not otherwise want to join the tech giant. Apple has been recruiting talent and acquired several AI-related companies in recent months, including Turi, VocalIQ, Perceptio, and Emotient, to build out its in-house AI team led by Carnegie Mellon professor Russ Salakhutdinov. Apple is rumored to be working on "enhanced" Siri capabilities for next-generation iPhones to keep up with competitors such as Amazon's

Apple Set to Join Microsoft, Google, and Facebook in AI Research Group

Apple will take a significant step toward disclosing more of its artificial intelligence research this week by becoming a member of a non-profit AI research consortium founded by five of the tech industry's biggest players. Last September, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM publicly announced The Partnership on AI, an 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". As one of the biggest researchers in AI, Apple's name was conspicuously absent, but that looks set to change in the coming days, following a Bloomberg report on Thursday that Cupertino is ready to add its name to The Partnership's list of corporate heavyweights. According to its website, the Partnership on AI intends to conduct research, organize discussions, share insights, provide thought leadership, consult with relevant third parties, respond to questions from the public and media, and create educational material that advance the understanding of AI technologies including machine perception, learning, and automated reasoning.Apple's imminent membership is just the latest indication that the company is prepared to reveal more of its work in areas of artificial intelligence. At an invitation-only AI conference held in Barcelona last month, where Apple employees discussed their work in various related fields, the company announced it would begin allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish and share

Apple Working on 'Enhanced Siri' Capabilities for Next-Generation iPhones

A collection of the world's top-selling smartphone makers, including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi, are all planning to double down on artificial intelligence features on handsets launching this year, and beyond. According to industry sources (via DigiTimes), the companies are hoping an improvement to AI assistant capabilities will "ramp up market shares in 2017." For Apple, that means the company is gearing up to add in an "enhanced Siri" to next-generation iPhone devices, although it's unclear whether that means the upcoming 2017 iPhone 8, or another model launching after this year. It's not specified what exactly an enhanced version of Siri will be able to accomplish, but an overall improvement to voice recognition and better contextual understanding of user requests might be part of the update. DigiTimes' report specifically references Apple's acquisition of machine learning and AI startup Turi last August as a way that the company intends to bolster Siri's reliability with consumers, "as well as the market share" over other AI assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant. Smartphone vendors, including Apple, Samsung Electronics, Huawei, LG Electronics and Xiaomi Technology, are likely to introduce models featuring AI (artificial intelligence) applications as a means to ramp up market shares in 2017, according to industry sources. Apple acquired Australia-based machine learning startup Turi in August 2016, aiming to further strengthen the functionality, as well as the market share, of its Siri intelligent personal

Tim Cook: 'We Don't Buy' the Need to Give Up Privacy for AI

During today's fourth quarter 2016 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about Siri, artificial intelligence, home assistants vs. mobile assistants, and balancing AI with security, which led to some interesting new insights into Siri's popularity and Apple's privacy stance. According to Cook, Apple is now getting more than 2 billion Siri requests per week. "It's very large," he said, "and to the best of our knowledge, we've shipped more assistant enabled devices than anyone out there." He went on to highlight Apple's efforts to deliver a great Siri experience around the world. While most AI services are limited to the United States, Siri is available in many countries. "We put a lot of energy into that," Cook said. Cook also said that he believes there's more value in having a phone with a personal assistant built in, like Siri, than a home device. "We live in a mobile society," he said. "People are constantly moving from home to work and to other things they may be doing. And so the advantage of having an assistant on your phone is that it's with you all the time." He went on to say that there's still a market for a home assistant like the Amazon Echo, but that usage on a phone "will likely be much greater." On security, Cook said that Apple does not believe there's a need to compromise security for the sake of artificial intelligence.In terms of the balance of privacy and AI, this is a long conversation, but at a high level, this is a false tradeoff. People would like you to believe you have to give up privacy to have AI do something for you, but we don't

Apple Hires Carnegie Mellon Researcher to Lead AI Team

Carnegie Mellon University professor Russ Salakhutdinov has been hired by Apple to lead a team focused on artificial intelligence, according to a tweet Salakhutdinov sent out this morning. He will continue to teach at Carnegie Mellon, but will also serve as "Director of AI Research" at Apple. In his tweet, Salakhutdinov says he is seeking additional research scientists with machine learning expertise to join his team. An included job posting asks that candidates have experience with Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning, Optimization, and/or Data Mining. Salakhutdinov specializes in statistical machine learning and has authored many papers on neural networks, deep kernel learning, reinforcement learning, and other related topics. His expertise may be used to improve services like Siri, which has been in the spotlight recently after journalist Walt Mossberg wrote a piece calling the personal assistant "limited," "unreliable," and "dumb." Siri is powered by a neural network and uses machine learning techniques to improve over time, as do other Apple features like Spotlight, QuickType, Photos, autocorrect, Maps, and more. Salakhutdinov's hiring comes as rumors suggest Apple is aiming to improve Siri as part of an effort to build the personal assistant into an Amazon Echo-like smart home product that would be able to do things like control smart home accessories. Apple is also on the verge of finishing an R&D research center in Yokohama, Japan, which will focus on "deep engineering" and developing Apple's artificial

Apple's Machine Learning Has Cut Siri's Error Rate by a Factor of Two

Steven Levy has published an in-depth article about Apple's artificial intelligence and machine learning efforts, after meeting with senior executives Craig Federighi, Eddy Cue, Phil Schiller, and two Siri scientists at the company's headquarters. Apple provided Levy with a closer look at how machine learning is deeply integrated into Apple software and services, led by Siri, which the article reveals has been powered by a neural-net based system since 2014. Apple said the backend change greatly improved the personal assistant's accuracy."This was one of those things where the jump was so significant that you do the test again to make sure that somebody didn’t drop a decimal place," says Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services.Alex Acero, who leads the Siri speech team at Apple, said Siri's error rate has been lowered by more than a factor of two in many cases.“The error rate has been cut by a factor of two in all the languages, more than a factor of two in many cases,” says Acero. “That’s mostly due to deep learning and the way we have optimized it — not just the algorithm itself but in the context of the whole end-to-end product.”Acero told Levy he was able to work directly with Apple's silicon design team and the engineers who write the firmware for iOS devices to maximize performance of the neural network, and Federighi added that Apple building both hardware and software gives it an "incredible advantage" in the space."It's not just the silicon," adds Federighi. "It's how many microphones we put on the device, where we place

Apple Making Big Hiring Push in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Apple is stepping up its efforts to recruit employees focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, reports Reuters. The report suggests Apple is looking to challenge Google's lead in features such as Google Now that learn to anticipate smartphone users' needs, something Apple is starting to address in iOS 9 with its new "Proactive" feature.As part of its push, the company is currently trying to hire at least 86 more employees with expertise in the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, according to a recent analysis of Apple job postings. The company has also stepped up its courtship of machine-learning PhD's, joining Google, Amazon, Facebook and others in a fierce contest, leading academics say.Apple's machine learning efforts are in large part built with Siri in mind, and Siri should play an important role in this Wednesday's media event, as indicated by the event invitation's tagline.Many of the currently posted positions are slated for software efforts, from building on Siri’s smarts to the burgeoning search features in iOS. The company is also hiring machine learning experts for divisions such as product marketing and retail, suggesting a broad-based effort to capitalize on data.Reuters notes that Apple faces a challenge with machine learning due to its focus on privacy and reluctance to tap into all possible data sources. For example, with the Proactive features of iOS 9, Apple is primarily keeping all of the data and analysis on the user's phone, enhancing privacy but limiting some of what can be learned from data passed to the