Apple Hires Carnegie Mellon Researcher to Lead AI Team

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Carnegie Mellon University professor Russ Salakhutdinov has been hired by Apple to lead a team focused on artificial intelligence, according to a tweet Salakhutdinov sent out this morning. He will continue to teach at Carnegie Mellon, but will also serve as "Director of AI Research" at Apple.

In his tweet, Salakhutdinov says he is seeking additional research scientists with machine learning expertise to join his team. An included job posting asks that candidates have experience with Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning, Optimization, and/or Data Mining.

Salakhutdinov specializes in statistical machine learning and has authored many papers on neural networks, deep kernel learning, reinforcement learning, and other related topics.

His expertise may be used to improve services like Siri, which has been in the spotlight recently after journalist Walt Mossberg wrote a piece calling the personal assistant "limited," "unreliable," and "dumb." Siri is powered by a neural network and uses machine learning techniques to improve over time, as do other Apple features like Spotlight, QuickType, Photos, autocorrect, Maps, and more.

Salakhutdinov's hiring comes as rumors suggest Apple is aiming to improve Siri as part of an effort to build the personal assistant into an Amazon Echo-like smart home product that would be able to do things like control smart home accessories.

Apple is also on the verge of finishing an R&D research center in Yokohama, Japan, which will focus on "deep engineering" and developing Apple's artificial intelligence services.

Article Link: Apple Hires Carnegie Mellon Researcher to Lead AI Team
 

boast

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Nov 12, 2007
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That's great that CMU can spend some time away from helping the FBI so it can help Apple. I assume more than $1mill this time?
 

macduke

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Siri was cool in 2011, but is currently where I expected it to be in 2013. They haven't kept up with the rest of the industry. Why? Secrecy. The culture for all of these researchers is collaborative, open source work where they share results and help each other iterate and build better software. I read somewhere that Google's people are regularly contributing to the community of research around AI, machine learning, neural networks—whatever it may be. Secrecy is a big deal with Apple, but the type of people who are passionate about this aren't interested in working at places like that. They don't thrive in a vacuum isolated from their peers.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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Hopefully these actions show that Apple needs to step up to the plate and improve Siri. Outside of telling Siri to play a given song, or artist, I don't use it.
 

GeneralChang

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Dec 2, 2013
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Siri was cool in 2011, but is currently where I expected it to be in 2013. They haven't kept up with the rest of the industry. Why? Secrecy. The culture for all of these researchers is collaborative, open source work where they share results and help each other iterate and build better software. I read somewhere that Google's people are regularly contributing to the community of research around AI, machine learning, neural networks—whatever it may be. Secrecy is a big deal with Apple, but the type of people who are passionate about this aren't interested in working at places like that. They don't thrive in a vacuum isolated from their peers.
Absolutely an excellent point. But is there any reason that Apple can't benefit from all that open-source work without contributing to it? It seems like they could at least be close to as good as Google if they would.
 
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DoctaSfink

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Sep 9, 2016
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Once Siri gets advanced enough, Apple will fire most of their employees and replace them with her ever-evolving AI.
 
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Bacillus

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Seems like a controlled news leak in response to Walt Mossberg.
Indeed. What could a professor contribute as the modular, open Siri/Viv architecture has been alienated and its developers have flown to Samsung. No scientist hiring can overcome the absolute management disasters happening at Apple. Neither 6000 engineers in a new lab in India or Japan. You will never hear from this guy again (or he may end up designing cardboxes in the AppleStore...)
All press fluff of the worst kind. This board has to be removed - so urgently.
 
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BornAgainMac

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Someday I would like to see VR and Siri integrated. You can ask Siri to basically create your own Holodeck environment based on what you want and then explore just like in Star Trek but with today's technology.
 

RonD69

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Sep 14, 2008
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Absolutely an excellent point. But is there any reason that Apple can't benefit from all that open-source work without contributing to it? It seems like they could at least be close to as good as Google if they would.
I would not admire a company who benefits from the open source community without contributing to it.
 
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firewood

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Jul 29, 2003
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If Apple allows top researchers to publish, and not lock up their research inside Apple's notoriously tight security apparatus, they will likely be able to hire and put together a far better advanced research lab.
 
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weup togo

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May 6, 2016
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If Apple allows top researchers to publish, and not lock up their research inside Apple's notoriously tight security apparatus, they will likely be able to hire and put together a far better advanced research lab.
There's no chance of this. This guy working at Apple and continuing to teach is not going to pan out in even the medium term. He'll quietly leave in the next 18 months after a conflict between his work NDA and his classroom work.
 
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