Former Google AI chief joins Apple to make Siri better

The legendary iPhone creator, Apple is a lagger in AI initiatives.

The New York Times reports that "Apple has hired Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals".

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In 2016, he was named the head of a new combined division at Google, pairing its powerful search unit and artificial intelligence divisions, after Amit Singhal, Google's longtime search czar, left. He was CTO for five years at Netscape in the late 1990s and CTO at a startup Metaweb, which aimed to catalog the internet's knowledge by making it more understandable to computers, prior to joining Google.

Giannandrea isn't Apple's first big hire in the field, but he is the most notable.

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At Google, the ex-chief of A.I. will be replaced by Jeff Dean, a longtime Google employee, in the A.I. department, and by Ben Gomes, Google's VP of Core Search. But, since neural networks which are required for deep learning and self-improving software requires huge chunks of data, Apple will still be at a slight disadvantage. Both firms have employed hundreds of researchers working across different domains that frequently publishes substantive papers that help inform internal products and the collective AI research community at large. Therefore it has access to the public records only.

"Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear", Cook was quoted as saying. He also said that Giannandrea shares its commitment to privacy and its thoughtful approach as it make computers even smarter and more personal. However, we now know his departure from Google was Apple's doing. It was supposed to be a Google's reshuffling move in the purview of fostering AI into more of the company's products, as informed by The Information. During his tenure, A.I. research gained prominence inside Google, with its primary A.I. lab, Google Brain, moving into space beside the chief executive, Sundar Pichai. Andrew Ng, formerly the founder of the Google Brain deep learning project, left as Baidu's chief scientist previous year and now runs a venture capital fund focused on AI startups.

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