Apple has hired Google’s chief John Giannandrea in order to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology with respect to its rivals. This news, first reported by The New York Times, comes after the executive announced to step down from his role at Google. It is a surprise move as broader executive reshuffle makes much more sense in hindsight.
Apple said in a statement that Giannandrea will be running the Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy” and he is going to report the progress directly to Apple’s chief executive Timothy D. Cook. Gianandrea who joined Google in 2010 is said to be a machine learning expert and it is a huge move by Apple as the company is struggling for years to make progress in AI fields like natural language processing and computer vision.
This recruitment is a huge victory for the Apple as it will help the company to understand and handle the complex tasks, voice commands or by identifying the people in images. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are said to be the powerhouse in AI. They employ hundreds of researchers who are working across a number of different domains which routinely publish a number of papers to help the internal products and the collective AI research community. Apple though introduced Siri as its voice-based digital assistants neither had access to data nor the research talent as the rival companies do with the help of AI technology.
Siri which is the voice-digital assistants for Apple lacks some AI’s sophistication. In general, we can say that Siri remains behind the quality level of Google Assistant which uses same algorithms that give power to Google Translate and Google Image Search. Siri also lags behind the smart home industry leader Amazon’s Alexa.
On Tuesday morning Cook said in an email to his staff members that “Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear.” He added by saying that John can be trusted with a commitment to privacy company approach to making computers even smarter. With this recruitment, Apple may look to recruit more top-level talent in order to improve the algorithms without affecting the privacy. To develop the self-improving software it requires large amounts of data and Apple is not good in it as it can access only publicly available sets whereas Google and Facebook can collect a huge data in a large scale from the users in billions that they have around the globe.
John Giannandrea who is a 53-year old native of Scotland helped to push to integrate A.I. in the Google products which include internet search, Gmail, and Google Assistant. The loss of Giannadrea will not affect Google in its AI efforts. He is considered to be a most talented figure in AI research. Dean who co-founded Google Brain is now in charge of Google’s entire AI unit and the focus is to improve the AI implementation into the products and long-term research.