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Former Google AI chief joins Apple to make Siri better

05 April 2018, 01:01 | Yvette Williams

Former Google AI chief joins Apple to make Siri better

Giannandrea

The multinational has just incurred a great loss by losing one of the great minds at Google, John Giannandrea, former head of Artificial Intelligence. In a bid to catch up with its AI rivals, Apple has managed to hook Google's AI chief.

Whether or not making computers smarter and more personal means improving search features with AI remains to be seen.

Giannandrea isn't Apple's first big hire in the field, but he is the most notable.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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. Under his command, Google Brain, the company's main AI research team, has rebuilt the technology that underpins some of Google's landmark products, including search, translation and voice recognition.

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Giannandrea stepped down from Google yesterday after years of heading up teams in a directive role, where he rarely got a chance to actually get his hands dirty. Looking at the pace at which the counterparts are unlocking AI huge potential, Giannandrea's recruitment is a big catch for Apple.

Thousands of Google employees have signed on to a letter demanding that the company withdraw from its work on a Pentagon project that builds machine learning technology that could be used for drone warfare. Both firms have employed hundreds of researchers working across different domains that frequently publishes substantive papers that help inform internal products and the collective AI research community at large. Mixed reviews (and pricing) of the HomePod, focused mainly on Siri's shortcomings vs. Google Home or Echo devices, have likely resulted in lackluster sales. "Industry insiders say 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".

"It also took the company many months to join an ethical AI research consortium co-founded by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and IBM".

Hiring the former Google exec has been called a massive victory for Apple.



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