Apple Just Hired Former Google AI Chief John Giannandrea

Apple Just Hired Former Google AI Chief John Giannandrea

In a surprise move, Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence John Giannandrea stepped down on Monday. He also wrote, "John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal", according to the report in NYT. The leaders in these domains not only shape the path for technologies but refine them to an extent that it gets infused easily in an average human mind. Giannandrea and Google announced early this week that he was stepping down from his role, but exactly where Giannandrea was going was unknown at the time.

He joined the company back in 2010 when his company Metaweb was bought out and his career path took a more Google-related direction.

Giannandrea served as chief technology officer for Metaweb, but his prominence in Google grew as it increasingly focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Apple's priority to not collect user information on their iPhones and iPads in order to enhance artificial intelligence networks such as Siri has hampered its progress relative to Google's and Amazon's.

In his new position at Apple, Giannandrea will become one of 16 executives who report directly to CEO Tim Cook.

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But the voice assistant competition has felt like a two-horse race for a while now, with Siri relegated to the sidelines despite Apple having recently brought out a smart speaker of its own, the HomePod. It was only in 2016 that Apple allowed its employees to publish research in AI - something that's standard for AI researchers at Google and Facebook.

Software and services are now critical - for Siri in particular - to the continued competitiveness of Apple's product lineup, including the iPhone. Now that John Giannandrea is with Apple, we can be sure that Apple will receive access to Google's prized information. Apple's emphasis on privacy and security of user data also means it has had to work on training AI algorithms without large-scale data collection. Giannandrea, who was called his peers, will reportedly be working on improving Siri's capabilities in the future. Machine learning experts are in high demand in Silicon Valley, with salaries often exceeding eight figures.

When it comes to concerns of the rapid advancements of AI technology, Giannandrea has previously said in an MIT interview, "I understand why people are concerned about it but I think it's gotten way too much airtime".

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