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Apple Hires Engineers For Machine Learning

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Siri upgrade? Battle for artificial intelligence heats up with iPhone maker hiring more AI boffins

Apple is reportedly ramping up its hiring of artificial intelligence experts, as the iPad maker seeks to improve Siri to better compete with Microsoft’s Cortana and Google.

Apple is currently trying to hire at least 86 more employees with expertise in the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, said Reuters, citing a recent analysis of Apple job postings.

Siri Upgrade?

It seems the firm wants to attract more machine-learning PhD’s to Apple, rather than rivals such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook. It is clear from the job listings that Apple want to expand its machine learning expertise in order to better predict people’s needs.

Siri LogoBut Reuters points out that Apple does face a challenge with machine learning because of its strict privacy rules and reluctance to tap into all possible data sources. Apple is looking to deliver more predictive functionality with the Proactive features of iOS 9, but all of the data and analysis is stored on the user’s phone.

This of course is better for privacy, but limits what can be learned from cloud data for example, which makes Apple’s role here harder than its rivals.

Google and Microsoft for example has vast data mining and artificial intelligence expertise. And according to Reuters this has meant that Apple has lost ground to its rivals, as the Microsoft and Google digital assistants have become more adept at learning about users and helping them with their daily routines.

“They want to make a phone that responds to you very quickly without knowledge of the rest of the world,” Joseph Gonzalez, co-founder of Dato, a machine learning startup was quoted by Reuters as saying. “It’s harder to do that.”

New iPhone

Apple of course has a well publicised launch event coming up on 9 September.

The event will see the Cupertino-based firm show off its latest smartphones to the world.

The event is also expected to include more details around the company’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, as well as a second version of its Watch OS for wearable devices, and a new announcement around Apple TV.

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