Apple buys Machine-Learning startup to further improve and strengthen Siri

Artificial Intelligence is still one of the sectors which are growing and constantly improving. While we usually have learned what to do…

Apple buys Machine-Learning startup to further improve and strengthen Siri
Photo by Hitesh Choudhary / Unsplash

Artificial Intelligence is still one of the sectors which are growing and constantly improving. While we usually have learned what to do with simple data in the meantime, the input from digital assistants placed at home is far more interesting to analyze. Although Siri does her work quite well in our Apple-devices, there is still room for more improvement and so Apple recently bought the machine-learning startup Inductiv Inc.

Inductiv Inc. is the latest addition to more than a dozen AI-related acquisitions by Cupertino in the past few years, showing Apple’s striving for further developing in Siri’s capabilities. The engineering team from Waterloo, Ontario-based Inductiv directly joined Apple in recent weeks to work on Siri, machine learning and data science. Apple confirmed the deal, saying it „buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.“ Full stop.

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Inductiv is known for developing technology that uses artificial intelligence to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data. Having clean data is important for machine learning, a popular and powerful type of AI that helps software to work and improve with less human intervention. This project as well as the work itself falls under the label of „Data Science“, a key element of Apple’s broader machine-learning strategy which should also benefit Siri at last. In 2018, the company brought on several engineers from Silicon Valley Data Science, a consulting firm that focuses on this field as well.

John Giannandrea, the Apple executive in charge of Siri and machine learning, has been upgrading the underlying technology that goes into the Siri digital assistant and other AI-powered products from the company. Inductiv on the other hand was co-founded by machine-learning professors from Stanford University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The professor from Stanford, Christopher Ré, previously co-founded another AI company, Lattice Data, which was bought by Apple in 2017, too. At the time of writing, it is unclear if Ré or the other Inductiv co-founders, Theodoros Rekatsinas and Ihab Ilyas, have joined Apple as well.

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Recently, Apple has bought several other AI- and data companies including Laserlike, Xnor.ai, Turi, Tuplejump and Perceptio. This year, the company bought Voysis to boost speech recognition in Siri, virtual-reality startup NextVR, and the popular weather-app „Dark Sky“ which was taken off Googles Play Store where it was also published shortly after the acquisition.