Apple puts the pedal to the metal to take over its rivals from Google, Amazon and Facebook in machine learning capabilities, and for that it recently purchased Turi, an AI startup from Seattle.
Turi's technologies should help Apple boost its advances in pervasive computing capabilities.
For those who skipped that lesson, pervasive computing allows a software (such as a virtual assistant) to make appropriate suggestions to a user on whatever topic they may ask about. For example, the suggestions that appear when a movie, music video or article ends could get better via pervasive computing.
To broaden its resource pool, Apple bought AI startup Turi in a transaction rumored to be around $200 million.
Turi has impressive expertise in developing and managing various software that tap into a very specific type of Artificial Intelligence, dubbed machine learning. Machine learning is also able to generate better recommendations and crunch customer data to determine or pinpoint accuracy user patterns. All these will come in handy for Apple, which is allegedly going to implement Turi's tricks into its virtual assistant, Siri.
When asked about the perspectives of integrating Turi with Siri, Apple chose discretion.
In a statement, the company notes that it is common for it to purchase small-scale technology companies and underlines in that discussion that the purpose and plans of the acquisitions fall outside of Apple's modus operandi.
Apple scored a consistent list of recent purchases, and Business Insider points out that most of them seem to be AI oriented.
Noteworthy buyouts are counting names such as VocalIQ, Perceptio, Emotient and Faceshift, with the first two sharing some of Turi's traits.
VocalIQ made use of machine learning to help voice assistants respond in a highly realistic fashion to inquiries. Perceptio, on the other hand, aided the internal processes of AI by sharing bits of personal user data from the respective systems. These two should be important pillars to improve upcoming versions of Siri, insiders familiar with the matter point out.
On the visual side of the spectrum, Emotient and Faceshift were startups that specialized in enhancing the capabilities of AI to recognize facial expressions.
Apple's helm, Tim Cook, stated that his company's AI focus went toward building features that would "enhance the customer experience." The CEO went on to add that the company plans to deploy machine learning in a variety of products and services.