Abril 20, 2018

Apple poaches Google's top AI executive to help Siri

05 Abril 2018, 08:57 | Benedicto Grullon

Already “AI first,” Google just decided to up the algorithmic ante

Google appoints veteran engineers to lead Search, Artificial Intelligence amid 'AI first' push

Giannandrea will be one of 16 Apple executives who report directly to Tim Cook, according to the New York Times. His departure comes two years after former search chief Amit Singhal left the company.

The letter, signed by 3,100 employees, was sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

With Giannandrea leading the AI department Apple is looking forward to hiring more top-level talent and improve its algorithms. Apple's priority to not collect user information on their iPhones and iPads in order to enhance artificial intelligence networks such as Siri has hampered its progress relative to Google's and Amazon's.

Under Giannandrea's tutelage, Google pivoted from a search-based company to an AI one.

A machine learning expert, John Giannandrea devised technologies that helped AI shape the way various Google services came to evolve over time.

Google employees have petitioned showing their opposition for the company's part in a Pentagon AI program. However, his departure is not likely to have a huge impact since Google already has a lead in the space as well as other brilliant minds to take over. Apple has products such as iPhones and HomePod smart speakers, but without a competitive voice assistant, they can only get so far in an AI-driven future. Apple also past year added more capabilities to Siri behind the scenes, including the ability to securely share some user information between Apple devices that a user has signed into. Siri also lags behind Amazon's Alexa which is now the leader in the smart home industry.

Last month, Google shocked many inside and outside the company when it confirmed that it was providing the U.S. military with artificial-intelligence technology that interprets video imagery.

This may all be set to change, however, with Apple's latest big move to hire the head of AI at Google. Before joining Google, Gianandrea functioned as the chief technology officer at Metaweb, which was then building a "database of world's knowledge". 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. Sometimes that data protection policy is at odds with developing AI, because AI training requires vast amounts of data. A Googler whispered The Verge that Dean, because of his long stint in the company, has a stronger bond with the community, staff, and executives.

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