Siri’s last remaining co-founder retires from Apple

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HomePod siri
The last of the three Siri co-founders who brought the AI assistant to Apple has quit.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Tom Gruber, the last Siri co-founder to have been employed at Apple, has left the company. Gruber was previously head of Siri’s Advanced Development group, but has now retired to focus on his interests in photography and ocean conservation.

His fellow Siri co-creators Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer left Apple a long time ago. They created Siri as an independent app before selling it to Apple in 2010.

Last year, Gruber gave a TED talk in which he discussed the importance of developing “humanistic AI” to augment human skills like memory.

Reshaping the Siri team

Along with Gruber, Apple’s head of search, Vipul Ved Prakash, has also left the company. He originally joined Apple back in 2013 when Apple acquired the search engine and analytics company, Topsy.

The pair’s departure comes at a time when Apple is reshaping its Siri division. Recently, Apple restructured the team so that Craig Federighi is no longer in charge of Siri. Instead, responsibility for Apple’s AI assistant has been given to John Giannandrea, who was lured away from Google‘s artificial intelligence division.

With Siri floundering compared to its smarter rivals, made by companies like Google and Amazon, it makes sense that Apple would want to try something new.

As far as Tom Gruber’s departure goes, however, we wish him a well-earned happy retirement as he moves onto other things. Along with his fellow original Siri creators, today’s voice assistant boom has a lot to do with the pioneering work this team did a decade ago.

Source: The Information (paywall)