Apple’s Artificial Intelligence Director discusses computers that can remember

“Artificial intelligence has made great progress in helping computers recognize images in photos and recommending products online that you’re more likely to buy,” Jonathan Vanian reports for Fortune. “But the technology still faces many challenges, especially when it comes to computers remembering things like humans do.”

“On Tuesday, Apple’s director of AI research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, discussed some of those limitations. However, he steered clear during his talk at an MIT Technology Review conference of how his secretive company incorporates AI into its products like Siri,” Vanian reports. “Salakhutdinov, who joined Apple in October, said he is particularly interested in a type of AI known as reinforcement learning, which researchers use to teach computers to repeatedly take different actions to figure out the best possible result.”

“Another area Salakhutdinov wants to explore is teaching AI software to learn more quickly from ‘few examples and few experiences,'” Vanian reports. “Although he did not mention it, his idea would benefit Apple in its race to create better products in less time.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple, due to secrecy, is farther along in AI than most observers realize.

We’ve been seeing over the last five years a growth of this inside Apple. Our devices are getting so much smarter at a quicker rate, especially with our Apple design A series chips. The back ends are getting so much smarter, faster, and everything we do finds some reason to be connected. This enables more and more machine learning techniques, because there is so much stuff to learn, and it’s available to [us]… We use these techniques to do the things we have always wanted to do, better than we’ve been able to do. And on new things we haven’t be able to do. It’s a technique that will ultimately be a very Apple way of doing things as it evolves inside Apple and in the ways we make products… Machine learning is enabling us to say yes to some things that in past years we would have said no to. It’s becoming embedded in the process of deciding the products we’re going to do next.Phil Schiller, August 2016

New hire could be critical step toward attracting high-profile AI research talent to Apple – October 18, 2016
Apple hires a big brain in AI to smarten up Siri – October 17, 2016
Apple transforms Turi into dedicated machine learning division to build future product features – August 31, 2016
An exclusive inside look at how artificial intelligence and machine learning work at Apple – August 24, 2016
Apple rumored to be taking big piece of Seattle-area office market in expansion – August 12, 2016
Why Apple will become a leader in artificial intelligence – August 8, 2016
Apple buys machine-learning startup Turi for $200 million – August 6, 2016
Apple touts Artificial Intelligence in iOS and opens ‘crown jewels’ to developers – June 14, 2016
Smartphones to die out within five years, replaced by artificial intelligence – survey – December 9, 2015
Apple’s extreme secrecy retarding its artificial intelligence work – October 30, 2015
Apple hires NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence director – October 24, 2015
Apple acquires advanced artificial intelligence startup Perceptio – October 5, 2015
Apple buys artificial intelligence natural language start-up VocalIQ – October 2, 2015


  1. Groan. So tired of the narrative around AI, it isn’t an organism in a petri dish. What is it that people wish Siri could do? Because I gotta say: it’s likely that no ‘AI’ agent can do it. It just *seems* like they are. So over it.

  2. On the topic of AI, there is a divide between the dreamers, the whiners, and the realists.

    I dream of having access to an AI that works at the level of the main computer on Star Trek The Next Generation. An AI with that kind of conversational and cognitive capabilities would be amazing.

    However, I do realize that this may not happen in my lifetime — which means that I’m not going to complain like a toddler about the capabilities of current consumer-available AIs. I will happily use them to the best of their limitations. I still dig the fact that I can, completely hands-free, send & have read to me text messages using my Apple Watch via Bluetooth to my car’s audio system. Then I ask Siri to play Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy — which she does — and then play some jazz, which also works perfectly. Then ask Siri to remind me when I get home to pay some bills online, which she does as well. When I say, “Hey Siri, I’m home”, my Philips Hue lights switch on and my Schlage front door lock unlocks.

    As for those complaining that they don’t have a Star Trek The Next Generation AI in their 2017 smartphone: my suggestion is that you take your chances by having yourself cryogenically preserved, with the exceedingly slim prospect of being revived in the future — where you may have what you’d like today.

  3. I can say my iPhone (or Apple Maps or whatever) has learned where I’m likely to go after I leave work. Even lunch is getting pretty good at predicting what food place I may go to on certain days.

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