Apple Snags Former Google AI Chief To Make Siri More Powerful

Google Search and AI Chief Said to Step Down

Google Search and AI Chief Said to Step Down

That role was once held by Apple, whose Siri technology introduced the feature to many, but which failed to capitalise on the lead. Apple is now looking to hire more than 150 people to staff its Siri team, a recruiting boom that did not go unnoticed. If he can apply that knowledge to Siri and other Apple offerings, his new employer could make a lot of progress in a reasonable amount of time. When news broke on Monday that Mr Giannandrea was unexpectedly stepping down as Google's AI chief, he immediately became perhaps the most eligible tech executive on the market.

Giannandrea's contribution to Google includes the development of the Ask Jeeves-style functionality that now enables Google search to provide more precise responses to user questions.

Appointed in early 2016, Giannandrea served as senior vice president of engineering and joined Google in 2010 following the acquisition of Metaweb Technologies. He helped integrate AI into every Google product including internet search, Gmail and Google Assistant.

"What I object to is this assumption that we will leap to some kind of super-intelligent system that will then make humans obsolete", said Giannandrea. There are surely more applications of machine learning planned in the future; Giannandrea would likely spearhead those efforts.

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It seems Apple thinks it has something to learn from Google.

Looking back at Apple's history related to AI, it is curious to point out that the company never allowed any of its employees to publish research in AI. Apple stresses user privacy to a greater degree than Google, which offers free and ad-supported services with the understanding that Google might use your data to improve its technology. Also, Apple took its own sweet time to be a part of an ethical AI research consortium co-founded by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM. Lately, the Cupertino giant has been lagging behind its peers in the AI arena and has been facing heat especially due to its oft-criticized digital assistant.

It's not clear from statements and published reports why Giannandrea chose to leave Google or join Apple.

Apple has made other high-profile hires in the field, including the Carnegie Mellon professor Russ Salakhutdinov.

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