Apple has poached Google's head of AI

Otis Hoffman
April 5, 2018

Wonder no more about the abrupt departure of Google's former head of artificial intelligence and search.

Apple is hiring, John Giannandrea, Google's former head of search and artificial intelligence. Giannandrea will be one of 16 Apple executives to report directly to the company's chief executive, Tim Cook. (However, it is a pared-down version from the Siri that lives on your iPhone.) Google Assistant is now far more capable of understanding the world around it, despite being launched five years later.

Forum discussion at Twitter. It remains to be seen how that philosophy will jibe with Giannandrea's background at Google, which trains its models largely with data culled from user activity.

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Apple hired Google's top executive in artificial intelligence and search, John Giannandrea, to lead the Cupertino tech giant's efforts in boosting Siri's intelligence and close the widening gap in intelligence between Siri and its competitors, owned by Google and Amazon.

This lack of data might have hampered the company's work as machine learning algorithms require massive amounts of "training data" in order to be able to function well - but Mr Giannandrea's hire is unlikely to change this approach. Apple has invested in Siri and HomeKit to compete with Google Home and Alexa-based smart home systems.

Currently, both Google and Facebook are powerhouses when talking about AI, followed by Amazon and Microsoft.

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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. Among other high-profile positions, Apple hired Russ Salakhutdinov, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, as the director of AI research back in October 2016.

Google's Senior VP of Engineering John Giannandrea (L) and TechCrunch moderator Frederic Lardinois speak onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 at Pier 48 on September 19, 2017 in San Francisco, California. "The technology is used to flag images for human review and is meant to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work".

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.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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