Apple Hunting for Machine-Learning Experts

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Apple is on a hiring spree for machine-learning experts.

According to Reuters, the tech giant wants at least 86 people who specialize in artificial intelligence and machine learning to join its ranks. That will put the company on a collision course with Google, which has invested massive resources and scores of experts into building software capable of predicting and responding to users.

“In the past, Apple has not been at the vanguard of machine learning and cutting edge artificial intelligence work, but that is rapidly changing,” Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, told the newswire. “They are after the best and the brightest, just like everybody else.”

By integrating more sophisticated machine learning into Siri, its voice-activated digital assistant, Apple can stay competitive with Google Now, Google’s own virtual advisor. The next generation of apps for Apple’s iOS and Mac OS X platforms will also likely feature a heftier dose of artificial intelligence, recommending products and courses of actions to users.

But Apple has also taken great pride in its privacy policy, which could constrain the amount of data available to its researchers and software. “We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter posted earlier this year on Apple’s website. “We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.”

By limiting the amount of raw data available to its machine-learning experts, Apple may create another challenge along the road to improving its artificial intelligence platforms. But given the millions of its devices currently in use, the company certainly has enormous datasets—an enticing prospect for those interested in building what could be the next big machine-learning platform.

Image Credit: Marco Rubino / Shutterstock.com

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