Apple’s AI experts are working to make self-driving cars smarter

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Apple's Car
The autonomous Apple Car as spotted last month.
Photo: diggapple/Twitter

Apple may have just reignited rumors about its Apple Car ambitions by publishing an online research paper — describing how neural networks can be used to detect autonomous car-friendly objects in 3D point clouds.

The results could be used to help improve accuracy in LiDAR technology, in which pulsed laser light is used to measure the distance of objects.

Apple is turning to India to recruit its next AI whiz kids

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Latest AI acquisition shows Apple isn’t sacrificing privacy for machine smarts
Gain great A.I. graduates and grow your market in India? That's what's called a win-win.
Photo: Universal

To help with its machine learning and artificial intelligence research, Apple is reportedly scouting for possible new employees straight out of an engineering college in India.

It’s a move which not only helps further Apple’s A.I. ambitions, but also shows its continued focus on India, a market which Apple is desperate to expand into.

Apple reveals AI magic behind ‘Hey Siri’

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Siri do not disturb
Apple puts a lot of AI tech into Siri.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

A tiny, low-power auxiliary processor that constantly listens for the phrase “Hey Siri” enables one of the most basic features of Apple’s AI assistant.

The processor, embedded in the iPhone’s motion coprocessor, keeps the “Hey Siri” command from running on the device’s main processor all day. That revelation comes in a research paper published today by Apple’s machine learning team. The paper dives deep into how Apple uses AI to power “Hey Siri.”

AI powers this bike light to make cycling safer

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See.Sense Ace bike light
Ace is the ultimate bike light.
Photo: See.Sense

When you’re out on your bike, you need to be as visible as possible — especially at night. See.Sense ACE is a bike light that uses artificial intelligence that reacts to every moment of your journey, making cycling safer and simpler.

The light improves visibility when you need it most, and ensures you’re seen on the road. It also connects to your smartphone to provide things like theft alerts and cycling stats.

Apple is looking for psychologist to improve Siri

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Siri could become a lot more empathetic.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s digital assistant Siri could soon become your new psychologist.

According to a new job listing posted by Apple, the company is searching for a software engineer that also has some previous experience in psychology or counseling. Why? Because people are starting to talk to Siri like its a human.

Alibaba undercuts Echo and HomePod with $73 smart speaker

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Aliba
It's only available in China for now, though!
Photo: Alibaba

China’s Alibaba Group has launched a cut-price smart speaker to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s forthcoming HomePod, as announced at WWDC.

Called the “Tmall Genie,” after Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall, the China-only device represents the company’s first step into artificial intelligence hardware. It is priced at 499 yuan ($73.42), which makes it significantly cheaper than the aforementioned rivals.

Former Apple product design engineer reveals how Apple runs its factories

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Instrumental CEO Anna-Katrina Shedletsky
Anna Katrina Shedletsky is a former Apple product design engineer who is using her experience to build AI that helps companies streamline manufacturing.
Photo: Instrumental

On this week’s Apple Chat (the podcast formerly known as Kahney’s Korner): I talk with former Apple product design engineer Anna-Katrina Shedletsky about her take on modern manufacturing and how AI will revolutionize factories. She introduces us to her new company, Instrumental, which is using machine learning to help manufacturers identify and fix problems on their assembly lines.

Using her hard-earned experience at Apple overseeing the production of the first Apple Watch and several generations of the iPod, Shedletsky says machine learning is coming fast to manufacturing. Amazingly, almost all consumer electronics products are still assembled by hand — including hundreds of millions of iPhones.

But that’s changing. Manufacturing is undergoing a huge sea change with the advance of robotics and AI.

Macphun adds AI power to photo editing app

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neptune
Macphun adds artificial intelligence to Luminar with its Neptune update.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

When Macphun entered the imaging software game, it wanted to make products as powerful as Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom yet with fewer clicks to well-styled photos.

Today, Macphun released an update to its all-in-one editing app Luminar that can make a photo beautiful in still fewer steps.

How does one sound?