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Apple boosts AI, machine learning clout with Perceptio buy

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Apple? Perceptio? AI? machine learning? Siri?

Apple has recently subsumed Perceptio, a startup that focuses on image-based recognition and deep learning, concepts based on a set of algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data. The reason behind this acquisition is that Apple is flexing its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning muscles in order to make Siri faster and more effective, thus creating a smarter iPhone.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," said Colin Johnson, a company spokesman. Through deep learning, devices can take observations, such as an image or a sound, and extrapolate additional data or provide recognition and authentication such as voice-activated commands or automatic speech recognition.

Perceptio has no official website, nor do the company's two founders, Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, have the company listed on their LinkedIn pages, though the tech publication re/code profiled Perceptio in 2014.


(Image: Mutlu Kurtbas/iStockphoto)

In fact, Perceptio is the second acquisition Apple has reportedly made in less than a week that bolsters its AI and machine learning capabilities. On Oct. 2, Apple bought UK-based startup Vocal IQ, according to a weekend report from the Financial Times.

Apple also declined to confirm that acquisition, which would help supercharge Siri. Siri helps iOS users find everything from weather reports to restaurant reviews. It learns the user's preferences over time to be more precise and predict what the user is actually looking for. With the power of machine learning, VocalIQ is attempting to create a more advanced type of virtual assistant, a tool could enhance Siri, become part of Apple's automobile project, or assist in Apple CarPlay.

Available on select cars, Apple's CarPlay app features Siri voice control specially designed for driving scenarios. It also works with the car's controls, whether knobs, buttons, or touch-screen. Apple is not the only company looking to get deeper into the trendy deep-learning space, which also encompasses elements of neural network technology.

The whole notion of machine learning and AI has been making a lot of news lately. Beyond the worries that it causes some people, such as Bill Gates, AI seems to be something that businesses are taking a look at. A recent report found that AI can actually help create jobs, thus adding another wrinkle to the notion of what IT means to enterprises.

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