Mobile Commerce

Apple’s AI Hiring Surge

As the race to create smarter devices moves along, the Apple-Google rivalry is going to heat up, too. And to stay ahead of the curve, a report from Reuters indicates that Apple is making a push to make its smart devices smarter.

The report, based on dozens of job listings confirmed by unnamed sources, shows that Apple is hiring artificial intelligence experts in hopes to stay competitive with Google in delivering consumers what they are searching for. Instead, Apple hopes to provide its users with answers before those users even start a search.

But there’s plenty of challenges to joining that market, one industry expert said.

“They want to make a phone that responds to you very quickly without knowledge of the rest of the world,” Joseph Gonzalez, cofounder of Dato, a machine learning startup, told Reuters. “It’s harder to do that.”

The search reportedly involves the hiring of 86 employees who have AI backgrounds in the machine learning industry, a Reuters analysis suggests. Apple is also recruiting machine learning PhDs as part of its efforts to keep its edge in the market.

The concept of machine learning relies on on the concept of being able to predict what its users want, which means relying on the vast amount of data that smartphones collect via apps and Web searches. But because Google already has the edge on search functionality on its devices, Apple may be playing catch-up. Some security experts also say that Apple’s iPhone privacy restrictions may make it harder to compete, Reuters reported.

More about what’s next for Apple will be known on Sept. 9 when Apple shows off its new iPhone and its latest operating system iOS 9. Early reports also indicate Apple will introduce more features that show off its AI investments as a way to show how it can compete with Google’s Android devices.

“What seemed like science fiction only four years ago has become an expectation,” venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler told Reuters.

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