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Apple Beefs up AI Talent Pool by Recruiting From Google


Apple has reportedly hired away dozens of artificial intelligence experts from Google.

That’s according to a Tuesday (April 30) report by the Financial Times (FT), which analyzed hundreds of LinkedIn profiles, along with job postings and research papers. The analysis showed a hiring spree by the tech giant to expand its AI and machine learning operations, with Apple recruiting at least three dozen specialists from Google.

Most of the company’s AI team operates from California and Seattle, per the report, although Apple has also expanded a major base in Zurich, Switzerland.

Professor Luc Van Gool from Swiss university ETH Zurich told FT Apple’s purchase of two local AI startups — virtual reality group FaceShift and image recognition company Fashwell — drove the company to open a research laboratory, dubbed its “Vision Lab,” in the city.

Apple’s Zurich operations have been kept quiet, with neighbors interviewed by FT unaware that the lab even existed, per the report.

That’s in keeping with Apple’s overall approach to AI, with the company remaining relatively mum about its plans while other Big Tech firms roll out new products, the report said.

Earlier this month, PYMNTS wrote about Apple’s creation of an AI system capable of interpreting ambiguous references and contextual cues, something that could “revolutionize voice assistant interactions and potentially reshape the commerce landscape.”

Known as ReALM (Reference Resolution as Language Modeling), the system simplifies the complex process of understanding screen-based visual references into a language modeling task using large language models. It’s part of a growing movement to improve AI voice communications that could bolster commercial applications.

“On the one hand, if we have better, faster customer experience, there’s a lot of chatbots that just make customers angry,” artificial intelligence researcher Dan Faggella, who is not affiliated with Apple, said in an interview with PYMNTS. “But if in the future, we have AI systems that can helpfully and politely tackle the questions that are really quick and simple to tackle and can improve customer experience, it is quite likely to translate to loyalty and sales.”

Meanwhile, PYMNTS wrote earlier this week about Apple’s upcoming earnings call, noting that — with the company facing volatility on the hardware front — there could be signs of pressure as the iPhone maker looks to expand its ecosystem.

“Some of what we might term the company’s ‘core’ or ‘bread and butter’ top-line contributors, through apps and iPhones, as well as tougher sledding in China, may temper at least some of the near-term outlook,” the report said.

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