Apple Hires Russ Salakhutdinov to Lead Artificial Intelligence Research Team

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Artificial Intelligence is a huge tentpole feature for many companies, including Facebook, Google, and even Apple.

The Cupertino-based company perched itself at the top of the mountain many years ago with a noteworthy head start in what we perceive as AI right now, thanks to Siri. The digital personal assistant is still around, even finding a brand new home on macOS Sierra, but it’s simply hard to argue that it hasn’t been suppressed by alternatives from perceived competitors, like Google with its own Assistant, or even Microsoft’s Cortana.

Still, while other companies are quick to point out, and even launch, their own, still-developing AI efforts, Apple obviously continues to work on its own efforts behind closed doors, out of the perception of the public, as it does whatever it is it deems necessary to improve Siri and its underlying features.

As a result, Apple has hired Russ Salakhutdinov, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The new hire will be leading an “AI research team,” and has taken to Twitter to announce his excitement with the new role at Apple (and his continued efforts at CMU). He also opened up the opportunity for interested individuals out there to apply to be part of that team, with a link embedded in the tweet.

Apple has its sights set on the future, as usual, but what it plans to launch that has anything to do with that future remains unknown, close to the vest. Apple executives haven’t been shy when talking about Siri, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in general, or when talking about their excitement for those technologies and features, though. It’s likely that the new AI research team will working closely with the previously-acquired team of Turi, which has reportedly been transitioned into a dedicated machine learning division.

Still, Apple has a focus on security, which means that anything Siri can do, and the features tied to its artificial intelligence efforts now, are locked to what’s available on a specific device. Siri doesn’t have as wide a net as Google’s Assistant, or Microsoft’s Cortana, and that’s by design. But that design may have led some people to give up on Siri.

Do you think Apple has some big announcements that can actually see the company compete in AI?

[via @rsalakhu]