Apple must be liking what it’s seeing from the recently hired John Giannandrea, Google’s former chief of search and artificial intelligence, who’s already been given an interesting promotion.
On Wednesday, Apple announced a complete overhaul of its A.I. efforts by merging the Siri, Core ML, and machine learning teams into a single initiative headed by Giannandrea. The executive will take on the new role of Chief of Machine Learning and A.I. Strategy and will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, according to Apple’s leadership page.
A report by TechCrunch stated that individual team structure will remain the same, but the projects they’re working on will likely see further integration. These include Core OS, mapping, developer tools, and more as Apple ramps up their A.I. strategy.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what sort of changes users should expect to see with this new restructuring, but they could be across the board.
In April, when Giannandrea was initially hired, The New York Times acquired an email penned by Cook alluding to the fact that he wants Apple devices to adapt and better serve their users, a capability enabled by embedded A.I.
“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Cook said in the leaked email. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”
While Apple’s upcoming iOS 12 release aims to make Siri — Apple’s trademark voice assistant — more customizable with Siri Shortcuts, it still lacks the speech capabilities of many of its competitors. Google is currently testing its next-generation voice assistant, Duplex, that is capable of holding natural conversations over the phone.
Apple still has a long way to go to rival technology like this, but streamlining its A.I. development process could lead to more personalized iPhone, iPad, and HomePod capabilities in the near future.
The A.I. race is on and Apple seems determined to close the gap.