Apple bolsters A.I. division by hiring first ever director of A.I. research

no comment

Even Siri knows that things aren’t as rosy as they could be.

Ever wish Siri was more intelligent?

Well, it seems Apple's virtual assistant will be moving in that direction with the hiring of Apple's first ever director of A.I. research. So who is this new director? And what does Apple hope to accomplish?

In IT Blogwatch, we ask Siri for the answers.

So who is this famed new director of A.I. research? Michelle Starr has the details:

Apple is getting serious about artificial intelligence...It's just hired its first director of A.I...Ruslan Salakhutdinov.
...
Salakhutdinov...primarily researches deep learning and neural networks, where computers learn from a large pool of examples...but Salakhutdinov's research takes it a step farther -- he's trying to figure out how to get A.I. to learn from raw data.

So why did Apple select him as the director? Will Knight is in the know:

Salakhutdinov, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, will...help the company make sure that Siri and its other products make use of the fundamental breakthroughs coming out of academic A.I. research.
...
Salakhutdinov’s work on cutting-edge machine-learning techniques could...drive progress in A.I., and...could be applied in...different areas, including computer vision, natural language processing, and even robotics.

And what exactly does this mean for Apple as it continues work in A.I.? Kif Leswing has one theory:

His hiring raises the question of whether Apple's growing A.I. team will take a more academic approach to A.I. research...One of the...reasons why people believe that Apple is falling behind in the field is...Apple's researchers don't publish their research, because Apple has traditionally kept its methods secret until a new product is launched. That secretive approach may be hampering Apple's recruiting efforts in the A.I. field...By contrast, Google and its A.I. subsidiary, DeepMind, publish their research all the time.

But hiring Salakhutdinov is not the only steps that Apple has taken to bolster its A.I. chops? So what else is it doing? Edoardo Maggio fills us in:

In the recent months, Apple...gobbled up Tuplejump, Perceptio, VocalIQ, Mapsense, Emotient, Coherent Navigation and Semetric...to remain at the forefront of A.I., machine learning and other similar, relatively new-wave technologies.

But what about that perception that Apple is falling behind in the field of artificial intelligence? Our own Apple Holic, Jonny Evans, isn't having it:

Apple’s A.I. will not be technology for the sake of it...the company wants to protect your privacy while it brings you convenience. There are some [who] say Apple is late to this party. They are wrong. The evolutoin of...machine intelligence is going to take time...and while first stage machine intelligence is already transforming lives (for good and for ill) those who claim victory in that race today should simmer down a little; this industry's barely left the starting grid, the finishing line is some way ahead.

Well, there you have it. So, interested in working in at Apple under their new director of A.I.? Russ Salakhutdinov posted a job listing along with his announcement that he was joining Apple:

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.