Apple has announced that John Giannandrea is its Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. Joining Apple in 2018, Giannandrea oversees the strategy for artificial intelligence and machine learning across the company and development of Core ML and Siri technologies.
Prior to Apple, he spent eight years at Google, where he led the Machine Intelligence, Research and Search teams. Before this, he co-founded two technology companies, Tellme Networks and Metaweb Technologies.
The new position brings together Apple's Core ML and Siri teams under one leader, though the internal structures of each team will stay the same, according to reports. The teams will likely be integrated across the company as they work together on various projects, including developer tools, mapping, Core OS and more. Though the Siri and ML teams evolved separately, it makes sense to have one person oversee both. The move was made to help give its voice assistant a boost, since it has never quite lived up to the potential envisioned for it.
Hopes were high last year when Apple announced the release of its HomePod smart speaker. However, while the sound quality was favorably reviewed in general, one complaint happened over and over: It wasn’t really that smart.
In fact, Gene Munster — managing partner at the venture capital firm Loup Ventures, and long-time Apple watcher and enthusiast — conducted his own research and found that Siri’s correct answer/action rate is about 75 percent over 800 questions/requests. It's an improvement from a year ago when the result was about 66 percent, but still far off from the 85 percent logged by Google and Amazon's smart assistant offerings.
With that in mind, Apple will be making improvements if it wants to compete with its rivals, and creating one organization is a step in the right direction.