You could write Hollywood’s next blockbuster on your iPhone

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Wattpad: The social reading and writing app that’s transforming the entertainment industry
Wattpad: The app that's transforming the entertainment industry
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Ever dreamed of penning a Hollywood blockbuster? Turns out there’s an app for that: social reading and writing app Wattpad.

With more than 70 million monthly users (and growing fast), Wattpad is a low-key App Store hit. The app is like Instagram, but for sharing stories instead of photos. It’s a great way to find fantastic new stories — and it’s flipping the script on how Hollywood makes movies.

Apple plans to hire 2,000 workers in Seattle by 2024

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333dexter
Apple is moving into these two buildings in Seattle.
Photo: Kilroy Realty

The mayor of Seattle confirmed today that Apple is making a major play to move into Amazon and Microsoft’s backyard.

During a press conference today, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan revealed that Apple plans to increase its expansion into Seattle by hiring an additional 2,000 employees in the next five years.

Apple promotes new SVP of machine learning and AI

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John Giannandrea
John Giannandrea is Apple’s newest SVP.
Photo: Apple

Apple has promoted John Giannandrea to its executive team as senior vice president of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Giannandrea, who joined Apple back in April of this year after eight years at Google, is responsible for Siri and the Core ML framework. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is “fortune to have John … driving our efforts in this critical area.”

Why HomePod’s ‘Hey Siri’ will blow you away

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Siri speaker
The HomePod's ability to hear at full volume is one of the most impressive feats.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated features of its HomePod smart speaker this morning with a new blog post that details the machine learning tech that goes into its ‘Hey Siri’ detection.

One of the biggest challenges with making a smart speaker is not only figuring out what to listen for but also what sounds to discard in the process. Apple’s engineers have come up with a number of interesting methods to make Siri work even when you’re blasting tunes our of the HomePod’s speakers.

Apple acquires AI startup with a focus on privacy

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Silk Labs
Silk Labs' privacy policy reads like it was written by Tim Cook.
Photo: Silk Labs

Apple has reportedly acquired an artificial intelligence startup that specializes in on-device machine learning software.

Silk Labs’ technology processes data without sending it to the cloud, which is a perfect fit for Apple’s privacy-conscious approach to AI. It’s not clear how much Cupertino paid for the company when the deal was struck earlier this year.

Apple buys visual effects startup focused on machine learning

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Spektral 2
Startup is helping Apple's video and photo editing tools get smarter.
Photo: Spektral

Apple has acquired a Danish visual effects company which uses machine learning technology for image and video editing.

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the startup Spektral was acquired late in 2017, although news of the purchase has only come to light now. One of the company’s core technologies relates to real-time green screen processing that’s capable of separating people and objects from a background and dropping them into a scene with an alternate backdrop.

Get in on the AI gold rush with these essential skills [Deals]

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This massively discounted lesson bundle offers a great primer on the lucrative fields of machine learning and AI.
This massively discounted lesson bundle offers a great primer on the lucrative fields of machine learning and AI.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The artificial intelligence industry is exploding. Machines might be coming to take our jobs, but working in AI is also one of the most lucrative gigs you can get, with salaries that reach into the 6 figures. But before you get in on AI, there’s a lot to learn.

All the important stuff revealed at Google I/O

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Google I/O 2018 was full of AI surprises.
Google I/O 2018 was full of AI surprises.
Photo: Google

Google just took the wraps off its big software lineup for 2018. If Apple executives were watching, there’s a lot they should be worried about.

Artificial intelligence has always been one of Google’s strengths over Apple. But in 2018, the search company is going all out, putting AI in everything. Pretty much every app the company has is getting some new machine-learning tricks in the next few weeks that make certain iOS features look ancient.

Check out the biggest announcements from this morning’s Google I/O keynote.