Until now, Apple has been known for being tight-lipped about their AI research. The company has now revealed plans to share their machine learning research with the academic world. What does this move mean for Apple, and why are they changing their policy now amidst massive improvements to their AI, Siri?
Apple’s AI Digital Assistant Once a Guarded Technology
Apple is famous for being the first major technology company to incorporate an AI digital assistant into their operating system. Since then, Siri has found its way into all of Apple’s widely successful range of products. Leading up to Siri’s success, Apple held a to a strict code of silence regarding their AI research.
Given their level of funding, Apple research teams worked tirelessly using company technologies in order improve their digital assistant. As a result, Siri has been used by most of Apple’s user base.
Siri’s enhanced capabilities hinted at the acquisition of multiple tech startups whose individual advancements were all retooled towards Apple’s AI. One significant change was the adoption of a deep learning neural network, which allowed Siri to learn and begin improving itself.
These advances have changed Apple’s typical design modus operandi. Whereas before Apple opted to control the development of code and the user experience, machine learning is forcing them to step back and let the software dictate direction.
This change has motivated Apple to share research. This move could help Apple remain relevant in the market for digital assistants. Technologies surrounding the new AI perspective requires other new perspectives to stay ahead of the development curve. Apple employing fresh talent may give them an edge over competitors.
“By ending their guarded mentality, Apple is leveraging a new benefit: recognition.”
Sharing now may pay Apple Dividends Later
Apple’s exclusivity kept individual researcher’s work unrecognized by the public as a whole. By ending their guarded mentality, Apple is leveraging a new benefit: recognition. AI is a hot topic in the field of data science, and significant breakthroughs could put new scientist’s names in the history books.
Apple isn’t alone in the AI market. To keep up in this rapidly advancing field, they’ll need to have the best scientific minds on the job. They face equally funded companies, and that competition already has products keeping pace with Siri.
The AI Digital Assistant Competition
AI is an intensely competitive field of research. Google, IBM, Amazon, and Microsoft are already making strides with their deep learning powered AI, prompting Apple to make moves to keep up.
Here is a brief rundown of Apple’s competition:
- Google’s Assistant boasts an impressive ability to remember user input and use it to answer questions, and this provides an edge over Siri in its current form.
- IBM’s Watson, famous for using its deep learning neural network to win the game show ‘Jeopardy!’, is currently at the cutting edge of medical research, and is being used to analyze diagnostic data to formulate more human-like diagnoses in quantities and at speeds impossible for humans to achieve.
- Amazon’s Alexa is being pushed into European markets and is already integrated into devices across Amazon’s product line. Their AWS branch is offering language processing software for use by the general public. Of course, by offering the fundamentals necessary for more developers to use their own AI, Amazon may also be carving out a corner of the market that Apple may not be able to touch.
- Microsoft’s Cortana AI is loaded directly into Windows 10, so it may soon be almost everywhere that Siri isn’t. Cortana handles the Windows search function, boasting an intelligent text analyzer that improves voice to text efficiency.
Apple took an early lead with Siri, but now other companies have enhanced their AI digital assistant capabilities. By moving towards a more open-source policy, Apple may be able to take the hot seat once again.