Better late than never, Apple has appointed an AI Chief to save Siri
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Apple has appointed former Google Machine Learning boss John Giannandrea as its first Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. The move shows that Apple is determined to catch up to Google in the application of machine learning and AI technologies to advance the iPhone user experience, an area in which it is seriously lagging. Importantly, this means that Giannandrea is now also heading up Apple's efforts with Siri, which has become something of an embarrasment for the company.
Once the clear market leader, Siri is now well behind the competition including Amazon's Alexa. Following Apple's move to dump the core Nuance technology that powered Siri in 2015 for its own tech, the company has struggled to keep Siri relevant. Apple has subsquently added AI algorithms to improve its accuracy, which the company claims has dramatically improved its effectiveness, but it remains unreliable. Giannandrea will certainly have his work cut out to leverage Apple's technologies to bring Siri up to par, let alone make it the market leader once again.
According to Apple, Giannandrea spent 8 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. Earlier in his career Giannandrea was a Senior Engineer at General Magic. His appointment in a senior role on the company's executive team shows that it is committed to making Siri great again. Let's hope he succeeds.