Technology

Apple hires Google's former AI boss; Expect a smarter Siri soon

Apple hires Google's former AI boss; Expect a smarter Siri soon

Apple (AAPL) aims to catch-up in artificial intelligence as it has hired away the former head of AI and search technology from Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL).

Unusually, Apple is playing catch-up against other tech companies that have invested far more in AI research and implementation. The machine learning expert will now directly report to the Apple's CEO Tim Cook. At the time, he said that more efforts are required to make computers smarter so that they can think better. The Google assistant has the same algorithms that power Google Translate and Google Image Search and is miles ahead of Siri due to this fact. This will likely by the strategy Apple uses to get itself back into the AI game, having led with the launch of Siri back in 2011 but since found itself overtaken by rivals Amazon and Google with Alexa and Google Assistant respectively.

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Regardless, hopefully Giannandrea's arrival will bring some much-needed progress to Apple's AI division, and help make the next generation of voice assistant AI a reality. Also, Apple took its own sweet time to be a part of an ethical AI research consortium co-founded by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM.

This news has come as a surprise to even the most seasoned industry insiders as according to an exclusive report by The Information, Giannandrea's role was to be be split into two.

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Siri has received a fair share of flak recently, especially amid Apple's highly-publicized but inherently lackluster release of the Siri-only HomePod speaker. He is also to thank for Metaweb, a shared database of the world's knowledge, which gave Google the ability to directly answer search queries.

In a change that led to the departure of Windows chief Terry Myerson, last week Microsoft announced plans to focus more on its cloud and AI services.

It should be noted that engineers with AI expertise are highly sought after in Silicon Valley, and Apple has made a number of high profile hirings of late in the AI field.

In an emailed statement to The Hill, a Google spokesperson said that the company appreciated that some of its employees had strong feelings about its defense work, but emphasized that the program does not involve building weapons for the military.


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