Apple snaps up AI expert who left Google over ethics row

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Bengio
Bengio has been working in machine learning for more than 30 years.
Photo: LinkedIn

Apple recently hired ex-Google machine learning scientiest Samy Bengio, making him the latest artificial intelligence expert to jump ship for Cupertino.

Bengio, like his brother Yoshua Bengio, is a renowned expert in machine learning. Having completed a Ph.D. in machine learning back in 1989 — long before most of the world wised up to ML — Samy Bengio worked for Google from 2007 through 2021. He left the search giant amidst the fallout after the controversial departure of well-known AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru and a paper over the dangers of large-scale language AI models.

Joining Apple

“This is one of the most difficult emails I can think of sending to all of you: I have decided to leave Google in order to pursue other exciting opportunities,” Samy Bengio wrote in an email to his Google research team in April. “There’s no doubt that leaving this wonderful team is really difficult.”

His last day at Google was April 28. A week later, Apple announced his hiring.

“Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, two people familiar with the matter said,” Reuters reported Monday.

Samy Bengio was one of three authors who developed open-source machine learning library Torch in 2002. Torch was the antecedent of PyTorch, a library primarily developed by Facebook’s AI wing for applications ranging from computer vision to natural language processing.

Stepping up focus on AI

For a long time, Apple lagged behind its Silicon Valley rivals when it came to machine learning. Today, it has majorly stepped up its game in this department. In recent years, Apple has been ahead of the likes of Facebook and Google when acquiring AI companies. Between the likes of Samy Bengio, John Giannandrea and generative adversarial network innovator Ian Goodfellow, Apple has no shortage of experts working in this field. All three of these big names joined Apple directly from Google.

Source: Reuters