Apple nabs Google AI chief to lead its own machine learning effort

Apple is now looking to hire more than 150 people to staff its Siri team, a recruiting boom that did not go unnoticed.

Apple has a new lead for its artificial intelligence efforts: Google's now-former head of AI and Search John Giannandrea. The hire, first reported by The New York Times, comes one day after the executive announced he was stepping down from his role at Google, itself a surprise move amid a broader executive reshuffle that now makes much more sense in hindsight.

"Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear", Mr. Cook said in an email to staff members obtained by The New York Times.

Apple today hired John Giannandrea, who was until recently in charge of Google's search and AI departments.

Giannandrea reportedly played a very important role in AI becoming an area of focus at Google during his tenure.

In addition to be a great hire for Apple, this is also a huge loss for Google's artificial intelligence efforts.

For example, while Google Assistant and Alexa both boast thousands of third-party developer integrations, Apple still only allows specific types of apps to integrate with Siri.

Apple past year added an AI chip called Neural Engine to the A11 Bionic for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X to work with the Image Signal Processor (ISP).

According to the data accumulated by Thinknum, the number of open positions that contain the term "Siri" has accelerated in recent weeks, with a current all-time high of 161 job listings. And though the Siri launch had its fair share of hiccups, Apple's intelligent assistant has improved considerably over the past few years. This has also highlighted the need to make them smarter to stay in the game.

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