Apple Inc. has fingers in a plethora of pies, but that’s not strange in Silicon Valley where tech firms need to grow and evolve or risk going extinct. Reuters reports that Apple is now hiring AI experts in an effort to improve its machine learning tech. The firm seems set to take on Google Inc , in the AI race where humans rely on computers to manage their lives. However, Apple and Google have different views on data mining; hence, Apple is at a disadvantage in the AI race.
The Reuters report holds that Apple is planning to hire at least 86 people that are skilled in machine learning AI. It was reported that Apple is now courting machine-learning PhD’s based on a review of information on hiring platforms.
An Apple employee said, “the number of machine learning experts had tripled or quadrupled in the past few years”. Oren Etzioni CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence notes that “In the past, Apple has not been at the vanguard of machine learning and cutting edge artificial intelligence work, but that is rapidly changing”.
Google’s lead in AI
Google has a huge lead ahead of rivals in the AI space but no one would be surprised because Google lives, breathes, eat, and thrive on data. As at June 2012, Google has already made inroads into using large-scale braining simulations for machine learning and AI. The plan was to provide Google with the best deep learning tech in which machine learning mimics the human brain to spot patterns, make smart forecasts, and act intelligently on the data.
Google’s machine learning and AI efforts are already paying off. Google will be releasing a revamped version of Google Now called “Now on Tap” in the fall. The new service will provide users with contextual information when they press the home button. Google’s AI effort is already yielding returns in making Gmail smarter and the firm now has a calorie counting AI for dieters. Google’s AI is already driving cars (better than humans) at a time when “core” carmakers are still struggling with autopilot and cruise-control.
Can Apple Catch Up?
Apple is reportedly trying to catchup with Google in the AI race, and the fact that it has beefed up new hires suggests that the firm is serious. The only problem though, is that Apple has built its brand on keeping user data private even from its own eyes but it would need this data to make any real progress in machine learning.
The path of least resistance would be for Apple to rethink its word and to start crunching user data the same way Google does. However, such an act would be equal to a betrayal of Apple’s cult-like following. The firm might be able to develop a smarter AI without breaking its privacy promise. It might be difficult but nothing is impossible.