Apple Deeply Serious About AI and Machine Learning, Says Report

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2016-08-25 Print this article Print

To Gottheil's point, Levy notes that the "AI cognoscenti" don't know what Apple is doing behind its closed doors, and quotes Jerry Kaplan, who teaches a course on the history of AI at Stanford University. Kaplan offers, "It's not part of the community. … Apple is the NSA [U.S. National Security Agency] of AI."

Part of that is due to the fact that Apple has discouraged (or maybe forbidden) its scientists from publishing academic papers on their breakthroughs, instead hiring folks who will be satisfied by putting their findings to work.

However, Apple scientists have made such a significant contribution to the field of differential privacy, which will be put to work in iOS 10, that Levy reports Apple is "authorizing the scientists working on the implementation to publish a paper on their work."

Dawson notes, "Privacy protections make it harder to digest big data sets on a massive scale centrally, while [Apple's] secrecy requirements mean that people that consider themselves leaders in the field are going to settle for a much lower profile at Apple."

As competition amongst the top tech companies heightens, significant-but-not-obvious updates and behind-closed-door advancements may no longer be the best strategy.

"Apple's products, especially its iOS products, continue to evolve, but the fact that the PC, the smartphone and the tablet are all mature means that the improvements are less noticeable than when they were new," said Gottheil.

"My sense is that the Apple AI, as implemented, is as strong as the Google and Microsoft AIs and far less intrusive than either of the two," he said.


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