How AI is secretly transforming everything Apple does


Elektro, a robot built by Westinghouse in 1937, was a star at the World's Fair in 1939-40. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum
Apple is investing heavily in machine learning.
Photo: Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum

When it comes to the incredibly hot field of AI, Apple has been racing to catch up with Google and Facebook. A new article reveals exactly when Apple’s interest in this area began paying off: July 30, 2014, a.k.a. the date Siri switched over to deep learning.

A type of machine learning built around brain-like “neural networks,” the switch drastically improved on Siri’s accuracy. However, as is typical for ultra-secretive Apple, the company didn’t boast about — or even publicize — its success.

Apple boosts AI efforts by acquiring machine learning startup


Siri popularized digital assistants, but it's quickly falling behind.
Turi could make Siri smarter than ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition could play a big role in the iPhone maker’s future artificial intelligence products.

Turi, a Seattle-based startup specializing in machine learning and AI, was reportedly acquired by Apple for around $200 million. The startup creates software that gives developers the ability to add AI capabilities that scale automatically, which could certainly be an attractive addition to Apple’s platforms.

iOS 10 won’t collect your personal data without permission


Apple will only collect iOS 10 data if you opt-in.
Apple will only collect iOS 10 data if you opt-in.
Photo: Apple

Apple is getting deeper into the AI game with iOS 10, which will require users to share some data with Apple so it can make intelligent suggestions, but the company says it will be totally optional.

Starting in iOS 10, Apple plans to use differential data as a way to track users and make Siri better at predicting what you want, while not being a major creeper at the same time. The company hasn’t been very clear about exactly what data it will be collecting, but according to a new report, we now know you will have to opt-in to the service.

Apple gives devs the chance to harness power of neural networks


A rough approximation of a neural network.
Photo: Fdecomite/Flickr CC

Apple is making a new push into artificial intelligence, giving developers access to the company’s neural network technology in a move that should mean big things for apps you’ll use in the future.

While opening up Siri to third-party developers was the most attention-grabbing news coming out of yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple has also revealed that it is will allow developers to tap into the company’s artificial neural network technology. And once the dust is settled, this could turn out to be the biggest development of WWDC, bar none!

Google’s ‘big red button’ kills AI before it can kill us


Google won't let the robots take over.
Photo: Google

Google’s DeepMind team has been working with scientists to create a way in which humans can kill artificial intelligence agents before they can turn on us.

It’s a concern many have as the AI systems being developed by tech giants become more intelligent and more capable — but Google has us covered.