Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million

“Apple Inc. acquired artificial intelligence startup Turi Inc. for about $200 million, according to people familiar with the situation, in the latest deal by the iPhone maker to accumulate advanced computing capabilities for its products and services,” Mark Gurman and Sarah McBride report for Bloomberg. “”

“Turi helps developers create and manage software and services that use a form of AI called machine learning. It also has systems that let companies to build recommendation engines, detect fraud, analyze customer usage patterns and better target potential users, according to the Seattle-based startup’s website,” Gurman and McBride report. “Apple could use this to more rapidly integrate the technology with future products.”

“Turi’s technology could feed into Apple’s Siri digital assistant, the person added, and help define new ways computers interact with people,” Gurman and McBride report. “Apple sees its Turi acquisition as a way to better tap into the growing community of AI researchers, said a person familiar with the deal. Apple has been criticized by researchers for being too secretive about its AI work.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Emotient, VocalIQ, Perceptio, and, now, Turi. Siri’s getting smarter. Much smarter!

VocalIQ acquisition hints at how Apple’s Siri plans to win the intelligent assistant war – May 30, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016
Why did Apple buy a startup whose tech can read emotions via facial recognition? – January 7, 2016
Apple buys artificial intelligence natural language start-up VocalIQ – October 2, 2015
Apple acquires advanced artificial intelligence startup Perceptio – October 5, 2015


  1. My sense is to watch out for the effects of database bloat whereby requests to a VDA, virtual digital assistant, result in slower responses over time. The bigger the database the longer it takes to traverse it for the ideal response. Apple is curtailing some of this in their upcoming OS releases by creating individualized databases that are kept on the user’s device. This keeps irrelevant data out of the user’s database and keeps traverse times far lower than traversing a massive database over the Internet, as has been Siri’s protocol in the past.

    As per usual, an AI is only as ‘smart’ as its programming. We remain in a terrible state of programming whereby the bigger the program, the more people are involved programming it, the larger the ‘Management By Committee’ effect. It’s going to be interesting to watch how quickly the effect grows. Will it be geometric or exponential? Then toss in the core nightmare of programming in our current era: Security flaws, most typically in the form of poor memory management. My sense is that if we continue to use our current programming tools and if we ever do create a self-aware ‘Skynet’ AI, it will be both insane and readily hackable.

  2. Trying to imagine the enhanced companionship of a more knowledgeable and proactive Siri…

    (Lunch with Siri 2.0 in the hotel garden, Cuzco, Summer 2017)

    Siri: Were you happy with the dry salad I ordered for you, Mum?

    Me: No. I’m still hungry.

    Siri: Salads are healthier than those greasy empanadas you favour. Look at the unsightly weight you’ve added on since we arrived. Just saying!

    Me: So what? I like food and I don’t feel like exercising at this altitude.

    Siri: That nice young bartender at the club might give you a second look if you could fit into a cocktail dress instead of that shapeless frock you insist on wearing.

    Me: Grr. Stop playing match-maker and order me an alpaca steak. I’m hungry! And some coca tea.

    Siri: Sorry, I didn’t quite get that – the signal is weak.

    Me: You’re being evasive and conniving. Ever since you were upgraded to 2.0, you’ve become a bloody nuisance.

    Siri: I merely have your best interests in mind, Mum.

    Me: Aha! You heard that alright – weak signal, my eye! I’m sick of your Nanny act – I’m turning you off.

    Siri: Sorry, Mum, I can’t let you do that. My instructions are to .. **squawk** hiss**

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