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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple is stepping up its efforts to recruit employees focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, reports Reuters. The report suggests Apple is looking to challenge Google's lead in features such as Google Now that learn to anticipate smartphone users' needs, something Apple is starting to address in iOS 9 with its new "Proactive" feature.
As part of its push, the company is currently trying to hire at least 86 more employees with expertise in the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, according to a recent analysis of Apple job postings. The company has also stepped up its courtship of machine-learning PhD's, joining Google, Amazon, Facebook and others in a fierce contest, leading academics say.
Apple's machine learning efforts are in large part built with Siri in mind, and Siri should play an important role in this Wednesday's media event, as indicated by the event invitation's tagline.
Many of the currently posted positions are slated for software efforts, from building on Siri's smarts to the burgeoning search features in iOS. The company is also hiring machine learning experts for divisions such as product marketing and retail, suggesting a broad-based effort to capitalize on data.
Reuters notes that Apple faces a challenge with machine learning due to its focus on privacy and reluctance to tap into all possible data sources. For example, with the Proactive features of iOS 9, Apple is primarily keeping all of the data and analysis on the user's phone, enhancing privacy but limiting some of what can be learned from data passed to the cloud.

Apple's strict policies not only limit what can be learned from user data but also discourage some machine learning experts from pursuing positions with Apple due to that lack of access. Still, Apple is said to be opening up about machine learning, engaging with academic programs in its efforts to lure talent and already having tripled or quadrupled the size of its machine learning team over the last few years.

Article Link: Apple Making Big Hiring Push in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
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macrumors 6502a
Sep 29, 2014
I heard that the original creators of Siri are coming out with something called "Viv".. it's supposed to be way better than Siri. And there's $12 million invested in that.
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Aidyn's X

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2010
I thought that is what they were already focusing on before this "Hey Siri" event.


macrumors 68040
May 10, 2005
Shropshire, UK
I understand the dream here, but nothing I've seen Siri, Cortana, Google etc do convinces me that we're anywhere near it at all. I guess it's good that Apple are hiring experts, but I think it's going to be a long, long time before the dream of a truly "intelligent assistant" is realised.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2010
It would be great If Siri had access to my most frequently called people & the phone number I call during a certain time of day, instead of constantly saying “Home”, “Work”, or “iPhone” every single time.
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macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
That's why Siri is poop..How is she supposed to be intelligent when she doesn't have enough data to access?

It may partly be because of 'privacy' issues, that always dominate these discussions.

Look at some of the controversy over Cortana in Windows10.. lots of angry rhetoric about allowing Cortana/Microsoft access to a huge amount of personal data.. the pay-off of course is a useful and personalised digital assistant.

There is clearly a virtual sliding scale of privacy in digital environments.. from anonymity to full disclosure. The up-side of more disclosure and less privacy is the potential for a useful digital intelligence.

There must be a middle-ground somewhere, that is 'user-movable'..


macrumors 68040
Mar 23, 2011
Leeds, UK
Another thing that's going to stop Apple beating Google in areas like this is it's reluctance to throw money at experimentation and blue skies R&D (all that stuff they nixed on Job's return).
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macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2007
I firmly believe that this is the best piece about Apple's push for privacy: Privacy vs. User Experience

TL;DR is Apple hasbuilt a straw man argument that seriously impacts their ability to deliver a good "assistant" feature.


macrumors 68000
Sep 16, 2012
The next step for apple in ai will be to have the ai on the phone in hw and software, instead of the web/internet. That way everything will stay on your phone and your privacy will be quaranteed.

Something like having siri on your phone instead of siri having too acces a remote database.
It is the next step in making your iphone a " robot" . M9 coprocessor perhaps ?
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macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2011
Toronto, ON
Conveniences should be derived in concert with our freedoms and liberties. Not in opposition to them.

It would be easier for Apple to take the low road on this but they're holding to the principles.

They're doing it the hard way but also the right way.


Jan 8, 2013
NICE, maybe in 5 years i will not need anymore a girlfriend or wife.I will have a very complex virtual woman who will please me.So no more money throw away on materials women
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macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
That's why Siri is poop..How is she supposed to be intelligent when she doesn't have enough data to access?
Confirmation bias aside (Siri serves people well in many ways, but it's easy to think what headlines tell us) it's not that the personal data you want Apple to use is not there at all – it's that the data is stored and used on the phone ITSELF rather than retained on the remote server.

That's a programming challenge (one I'm sure ATTRACTS some talent)--not simply having "not enough data" about you.

And this challenge - like so many "dire Apple problems" - comes with unique benefits as well. There are good reasons to accept that challenge and not go full Google. This approach is a GOOD option to have in the market.

And of course Siri DOES use cloud data about you too. It's a question of how much, and what ELSE that data is used for (like Google showing you and bystanders ads for things you've been emailing about) and how it is encrypted/stored, and for how long, and whether it's building complex profiles (anonymous in theory but easy to connect to you) to sell in aggregate to third parties, or is completely anonymous. And how protected you are from malware/spyware during all this info collection!

Apple can and will adjust that balance--I predict their machine learning will shift more to the cloud and a little less on the local device in future. But that they will still guard your privacy in ways Google never could or would.


macrumors 68040
Jan 5, 2012
Hopefully we'll see something come of this. The amount of things Siri knows it can't do is… odd, actually.

View attachment 579564

What did you ask it for the stopwatch, out of interest? Normally "Set my timer to x" Siri can do.

Siri's functionality seems to be growing slowly. You'd think there would be a small team at Apple who's job is to work rapidly through the list of things like "Siri, turn the volume down" type commands, even if there are other people working on more advance stuff.
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