Apple hires former Google AI chief to work on Siri

05 April, 2018, 00:25 | Author: Becky Perry
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Mr. Giannandrea left his post with Google on April 2 and joined Apple April 3.

Apple has hired John Giannandrea, Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence, according to The New York Times. In fact, Giannandrea will be one of the 16 executives that report directly to Tim Cook, CEO at Apple. Yesterday, it was reported that he'd been hired by Apple.

Giannandrea has a long history in the artificial intelligence market. "And I think what we are doing is building tools, like, say, the Google Search engine, that make you more productive".

Apple has made other high-profile hires in the field, including the Carnegie Mellon professor Russ Salakhutdinov. Siri, the digital assistant into which Apple has pumped much of its consumer-facing AI technologies, is far behind Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in capabilities. The technology from Metaweb eventually merged with Google search to offer quick answers to natural language queries.

Google's advanced AI is integral to a number of its products, like Google Assistant. Looking at the pace at which the counterparts are unlocking AI enormous potential, Giannandrea's recruitment is a big catch for Apple.

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Keeping in good company, Giannandrea - at least on LinkedIn - is connected to William Tunstall-Pedoe, a British software developer who invented Evi, one of the first virtual assistants for mobile phones.

"What I object to is this assumption that we will leap to some kind of super-intelligent system that will then make humans obsolete", he said. That role was once held by Apple, whose Siri technology introduced the feature to many, but which failed to capitalise on the lead. At the time, John pointed towards Google Home as a hint of what's coming. In 2016, he was promoted again to lead Google search as well. 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. In fact, Google directly banned its employees from publishing any of their AI research.

According to the industry experts, Apple's approach to data collection and user privacy, while commendable from an ideological standpoint, hamper its ability to keep pace with other Silicon Valley heavyweights. Last week, Windows' chief Terry Myerson departed after Microsoft announced that it would focus more on AI and the Cloud.

The Alphabet Inc. unit used about 7 terawatt-hours of electricity to run all of its global operations previous year, and it sourced even more than that, according to Neha Palmer, its head of energy strategy.


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