Apple scoops up privacy-loving A.I. company

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Siri
Siri usage is climbing rapidly.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is beefing up its Artificial Intelligence tech with the purchase of Perceptio, a small startup that worked on creating advanced AI systems on smartphones.

Perceptio’s specialization was figuring out how to run complex neural network algorithms without needing to share as much user data. That would seem to fall in line with Apple’s goal of providing more robust features for Siri without compromising users’ privacy in the process.

According to Bloomberg, Perceptio’s cofounders, Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone are both established Ai researchers who developed image-recognition systems using deep learning.

“Perceptio’s goals were to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones, without having to draw from large external repositories of data,” reports Bloomberg. “That fits Apple’s strategy of trying to minimize its usage of customer data and do as much processing as possible on the device.”

This marks the second Siri-related acquisition Apple’s made recently. Last week Apple bought VocalIQ, a UK startup that makes natural language APIs, allowing computers and people to have natural conversations.

Apple confirmed its acquisition of Perceptio this afternoon with its boilerplate response, though terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Colin Johnson, a company spokesman.