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Apple Names New AI Leader

Apple Inc. named a new and prominent artificial intelligence executive in hopes to bolster its Siri voice assistant and other offerings powered by the technology.

Apple made it clear that John Giannandrea, who previously served as Google’s top artificial intelligence executive, will join the company later this month as its new chief of machine learning and AI strategy, reporting to Chief Executive Tim Cook.

The hiring of Giannandrea is deemed important as the Cupertino-based company starts lagging its rivals in key areas of artificial intelligence. Though Siri made its debut in 2011 well before other voice assistants, Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa and Alphabet Inc’s Google Assistant have rapidly gained ground with consumers.

Apple has taken a number of steps to remedy that. In 2016, it hired prominent artificial intelligence researchers Carlos Guestrin from the University of Washington and Russ Salakhutdinov from Carnegie Mellon University.

Moreover, Apple transferred responsibility for Siri from content chief Eddy Cue to operating systems chief Craig Federighi last year, a sign that the company was looking to insert the voice assistant more deeply into its core systems.

The company also added more capabilities to Siri behind the scenes, including the ability to securely share some user information between Apple devices that a user has signed into.

Apple Developing Touchless, Curved Screen iPhone

Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly working on some certain brand new designs for future iPhones including curved screens and touchless controls.

The touchless control feature would let iPhone users perform some tasks by moving their finger close to the screen without actually tapping it. The technology won’t likely be ready for users and consumers for at least two years if Apple chooses to go forward with it.

Also, the company starts developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom. That’s different than the latest Samsung smartphone screens, which curve down at the edges.

 

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