Apple is revamping its artificial intelligence division starting with the appointment of John Giannandrea as Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. The role is the first in Apple’s history, signifying the shifting tide in AI as companies like Apple and Google make a concerted effort to incorporate the technology in more useful ways.
The news was first reported by TechCrunch and then confirmed by Apple, which updated the leadership page on its website. Giannandrea will oversee Apple’s machine learning division including the Siri team and Core ML team—the machine learning API team that was established in 2017.
Though Apple has made giant strides in software development with iOS and macOS, one area it has fallen sorely behind is machine learning. This is none more evident than with Siri, which lags far behind Google Assistant and Alexa in various aspects pertinent to a voice assistant, including language processing and computing.
In fact, the lead Apple relinquished in launching Siri well ahead of the competition has been one of the company’s most striking missteps in the Tim Cook era.
Apple has toed the line in AI with a focus on privacy, but it has been trying to expand beyond that to catch up with Google’s AI prowess. One of the ways it will do so will be by collecting massive amounts of data, which it has already started in its efforts to revamp Maps.
Giannandrea will be the person responsible to make this possible. He previously worked at General Magic, a failed company that accomplished many technological breakthroughs, one of which was employing some of the greatest tech minds, including Tony Fadell, Andy Rubin and Susan Kare.