Apple buys a machine learning startup to power up Siri
Apple has bought yet another company. But as ever with such acquisitions, the significance is the effect it could have on a product many of us use every day – the iPhone and, more specifically, Siri.
It’s self-evident that Siri’s capabilities have fallen behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in its ability to adapt to natural language.
Apple has bought several companies in the area of AI (artificial intelligence) in recent times and the latest firm, Inductiv, will enable Apple to better analyse data that comes in – presumably from user interactions – and so enhance the machine learning effort. Inductiv was founded by machine-learning academics from a Stanford and other US universities.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has been upgrading the underlying AI technology that powers Siri under the direction of exec John Giannandrea. Apple also pledged to change practices after it was revealed to use human contractors to listen to audio recordings of its users talking to Siri – just like its rivals.
Apple hasn’t commented on the acquisition and it’s unclear whether Apple has just bought the company’s technology or if executives have also joined. Bloomberg suggests that the company’s engineering team – based in Waterloo, Ontario – are now working for Apple.
Apple also bought Voysis earlier this year with a view to improving speech recognition in Siri – recognising more natural language would certainly give Siri a large part of the boost it needs.
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