Apple’s Siri is intelligent, but there’s a lot she can learn and Apple believes that the virtual assistant can learn a thing or two from machine learning expert from Carnegie Mellon University, Russ Salakhutdinov.
While we are not entirely sure if Salakhutdinov is going to teach Siri new tricks, we can say for sure that he has joined as a director of AI research, in addition to his role at the university. This was announced by Salakhutdinov himself on Twitter along with a link to the Apple job application page where there was a vacancy for machine learning specialists with “experience in Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning, Optimization, and/or Data Mining.”
Artificial intelligence has been one of the main focus points of Apple lately with the iPhone maker going on an acquisition spree bagging at least a half-dozen startups including Seattle-based Turi Inc in the last 12 months. Why focus on AI? For starters it could be to improve Siri. Siri is competing with the Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa to become the virtual assistant of choice and the access point for users seeking online services.
But that’s just a small bit of what Apple does and while we want Siri to be intelligent, there’s a lot more that Apple will have on its mind with AI and machine learning experts on board.
Salakhutdinov joined Carnegie Mellon, a respected AI research center, earlier this year after spells at the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has been funded by Google, Microsoft and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., among others, according to his personal website at the Pittsburgh-based university.
Salakhutdinov has published extensively on neural networks, a branch of AI critical for voice and image recognition technology, collaborating with top researchers from academia and Google parent Alphabet Inc.