Info-tech

Apple ups hiring of artificial intelligence experts

Reuters September 7 | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on September 07, 2015

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Apple has ramped up its hiring of artificial intelligence experts, recruiting from PhD programmes, posting dozens of job listings and greatly increasing the size of its AI staff, a review of hiring sites suggests and numerous sources confirm.

The goal is to challenge Google in an area the internet search giant has long dominated: smartphone features that give users what they want before they ask.

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 PhDs, joining Google, Amazon, Facebook and others in a fierce contest, leading academics say.

But some experts say the iPhone maker’s strict stance on privacy is likely to undermine its ability to compete in the rapidly progressing field. Machine learning, which helps devices infer from experience what users are likely to want next, relies on crunching vast troves of data to provide unprompted services, such as the scores for a favourite sports team or reminders of when to leave for an appointment based on traffic.

The larger the universe of users providing data about their habits, the better predictions can be about what an individual might want. But Apple analyses its users' behaviour under self-imposed constraints to better protect their data from outsiders.

That means Apple largely relies on analysing the data on each user’s iPhone rather than sending it to the cloud, where it can be studied alongside information from millions of others.

While Apple got off to a slow start on hiring for machine learning jobs, it is closing in on its competitors, said Oren Etzioni, who is CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and a professor at the University of Washington.

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Published on September 07, 2015
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