Tech

Apple Hires Google's AI Head John Giannandrea

Apple Hires Google's AI Head John Giannandrea

At Apple, John Giannandrea, now former Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence, will run Apple's machine learning and A.I. strategy, and will report directly to the CEO, Timothy D. Cook.

In case you didn't know, John Giannandrea is Google's former head of search and artificial intelligence.

Giannandrea joined Google in 2010 as part of its research and development team and quickly rose through the ranks as AI took on a central role in the company. Apple has hired John Giannandrea, appointing him to be the company's first senior vice president of AI, according to one report. Giannandrea and Google announced early this week that he was stepping down from his role, but exactly where Giannandrea was going was unknown at the time.

"Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear", Cook told staff.

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It's widely known that Apple's Siri loses a face-off against Google Assistant or even Alexa by Amazon, but things are about to change. If it is to become successful and compete with Google and Amazon, the company will need to find a way to personalize the information it serves on phones and in search engines much better than it does today. There are surely more applications of machine learning planned in the future; Giannandrea would likely spearhead those efforts.

Apple, although the pioneer of personal virtual assistants with the likes of Siri, now lacks access to data as well as research talent to succeed in AI development. (However, it is a pared-down version from the Siri that lives on your iPhone.) Google Assistant is now far more capable of understanding the world around it, despite being launched five years later. Apple's smart speaker - the Homepod - has received mixed reviews since its launch past year, so Giannandrea's expertise is a major coup for the company.

According to the industry experts, Apple's approach to data collection and user privacy, while commendable from an ideological standpoint, hamper its ability to keep pace with other Silicon Valley heavyweights.

Giannandrea is a huge win for Apple as the company is hustling to make progress in the fast-moving and imperative AI technologies like computer vision, neural networks, deep learning and NLP.


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