HomeIndustriesApple is targeting Google employees to construct a synthetic intelligence team

Apple is targeting Google employees to construct a synthetic intelligence team

Apple has poached dozens of artificial intelligence experts from Google and arrange a secret European lab in Zurich because the tech giant builds a team to compete against rivals in developing recent AI models and products.

The $2.7 trillion company has been on a recruiting spree lately to expand its global AI and machine learning team, in line with a Financial Times evaluation of tons of of LinkedIn profiles in addition to public job postings and research papers.

The iPhone maker has particularly targeted Google employees and has recruited at the least 36 specialists from its competitor since John Giannandrea was poached in 2018.

While nearly all of Apple's AI team works in offices in California and Seattle, the tech giant has also expanded a serious outpost in Zurich.

Professor Luc Van Gool of the Swiss university ETH Zurich said Apple's acquisition of two local AI start-ups – virtual reality group FaceShift and image recognition company Fashwell – led Apple to establish a research lab in town called Vision Lab construct.

Employees based in Zurich have been involved in researching Apple's underlying technology, which powers products comparable to OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot. Her work has focused on increasingly advanced AI models that integrate text and visual input to generate responses to queries.

The company has advertised positions in the sphere of generative AI at two locations in Zurich, one in all which is especially little known. A neighbor told the FT that he didn't even know the office existed. Apple didn’t reply to requests for comment.

Apple generally keeps a low profile about its AI plans, despite the fact that major technology competitors Microsoft, Google and Amazon are touting billions of dollars in investments in cutting-edge technology.

Its shares have fallen for the reason that start of the yr while rivals' shares have soared, increasing pressure on the tech giant to announce groundbreaking AI features that might boost device sales.

Rebased line chart of stock prices showing Apple is overshadowed by competitors' more engaging approach

Industry insiders suspect Apple is targeted on bringing generative AI to its mobile devices, a breakthrough that will allow AI chatbots and apps to run on the phone's own hardware and software relatively than being powered by cloud services in data centers .

CEO Tim Cook told analysts that Apple has “explored a broad range of AI technologies” and has invested and innovated “responsibly” in the brand new technology.

However, the technology group has been developing AI products, comparable to its voice assistant Siri, for greater than a decade. The company has long been aware of the potential that “Neural Networks“ – a type of AI inspired by the way in which neurons within the human brain interact, and a technology that underlies groundbreaking products like ChatGPT.

Chuck Wooters, an authority in conversational AI and huge language models who joined Apple in December 2013 and worked on Siri for nearly two years, said: “During my time there, one in all the pushes that happened within the Siri group was towards a to transition to neural architecture for speech recognition. Even back then, before large language models got here along, they were big proponents of neural networks.”

This interest appears to have led Apple to researchers who were the driving force behind neural networks that power AI models.

In 2016, Apple acquired Perceptual Machines, an organization founded by Ruslan Salakhutdinov and two of his students at Carnegie Mellon University that worked on generative AI-powered image recognition.

“At that point they were on the lookout for an entire bunch of researchers and attempting to construct the infrastructure to coach these models,” Salakhutdinov told the Financial Times.

A key figure within the history of neural networks, Salakhutdinov studied on the University of Toronto under the technology's “godfather,” Geoffrey Hinton, who left Google last yr over concerns concerning the dangers of generative AI. Salakhutdinov worked as director of AI research at Apple until returning to Carnegie Mellon University in 2020.

Apple's top AI team now includes former key Google figures, including Giannandrea, who previously led Google Brain, the search company's AI lab that has since merged with DeepMind.

Samy Bengio, senior director of AI and ML research, was formerly one in all Google's top AI scientists. Ruoming Pang, who leads Apple's Foundation Models team working on LLMs, previously led Google's AI speech recognition research.

The company also once hired Ian Goodfellow, one other deep learning pioneer, but he returned to Google in 2022 to protest Apple's return-to-work policy.

Six former Google employees hired within the last two years were listed among the many authors of a serious research paper published in March through which Apple revealed that it had developed a family of AI models called “MM1,” that use text and visual input to generate responses.

Apple has also bought about two dozen AI startups within the last 10 years that concentrate on applying AI reasoning to image and video recognition, data processing, search, and music content curation.

Of these, founders of Musicmetric, Emotient, Silk Labs, PullString, CamerAI, Fashwell, Spectral Edge, Inductiv Inc, Vilynx, AI Music and WaveOne still work at Apple, in line with their LinkedIn profiles.

Salakhutdinov said Apple has focused on “doing as much as possible on the device,” which is able to bring with it the necessity for more powerful chips with so-called dynamic random access memory (DRAM) that may process the large amounts of information needed to power it AI models are required.

“The next big thing shall be 'AI smartphones' – and these would require lots more dram,” said Sumit Sadana, executive vp and chief business officer of Micron Technology, one in all Apple's chip suppliers.

Sadana added that the common smartphone memory chip today has lower than the minimum required to run an LLM on the device.

Salakhutdinov said another excuse for Apple's slow AI adoption is the tendency of language models to supply incorrect or problematic answers. “I feel they're just just a little more cautious because they will't release something that they will't fully control,” he added.

Apple's push into generative AI capabilities may very well be first seen at the corporate's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Erik Woodring, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said the following iPhone “could turn out to be rather more of a voice-activated, intelligent personal assistant, controlled by an improved Siri, and will, for instance, interact with all of the apps in your phone using voice control.”

He added: “What we're on the lookout for at WWDC are previews of 1 or two AI features that will be game-changers for the common consumer.”

Video: AI: blessing or curse for humanity? | FT Tech


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