Apple’s secrecy is damaging its AI research

Apple’s desire to compete with companies like Facebook and Google in terms of artificial intelligence research is being hurt by… (drum roll) its obsessive secrecy, according to a new report. Noted neural network researcher Yoshua Bengio says that Apple has started attending big conferences such as the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Montreal, but […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple’s Culture of Secrecy Slowing its Artificial Intelligence Development

Apple’s strict adherence to an environment of secrecy and privacy in regards to its software and hardware development has been suggested as a major blow to the company’s potential for growth in the field of artificial intelligence. In a new article by Bloomberg, Apple was noted as a non-attendee at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference, an annual confluence of companies including Google and Microsoft where researches get together to discuss the progress and development of AI technologies.

In years past, Apple has attended the conference, but its emissaries were known to keep „a low profile“ during the proceedings. In the midst of a mass sharing and celebration of discoveries and findings in the world of AI, many remain unsure of the Cupertino company’s continued success in such departments if it remains attached to such strict secrecy rules. “They’re completely out of the loop,“ said Richard Zemel, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Toronto.

The biggest threat posed to Apple due to this level of secrecy, according to Trevor Darrell, managing director of a machine-learning research center at the University of California at Berkeley, is the barrier to entry it creates for graduate students fresh out of college. The stagnant environment and closed-off atmosphere inhibits the company’s employees from interacting with the rest of the scientific community, an issue that most potential hires may not be entirely comfortable with.

“There’s no way they can just observe and not be part of the community and take advantage of what is going on,” says Yoshua Bengio, a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal. “I believe if they don’t change their attitude, they will stay behind.”

“The really strong people don’t want to go into a closed environment where it’s all secret,” Bengio says. “The differentiating factors are, ‘Who are you going to be working with?’ ‘Am I going to stay a part of the scientific community?’ ‘How much freedom will I have?’”

Earlier in the month, Apple acquired two artificial intelligence-related start-ups: VocalIQ and Perceptio. VocalIQ’s natural language API hints at a more naturalistic version of Siri in the future, and even possible integration into the rumored Apple car project. Perceptio suggests the possibility of a more expansive and robust AI system for Apple, without the compromise of the company’s in-depth privacy policies that pull Siri back from services like Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.

All the same, Bloomberg‘s story suggests that despite Apple’s enthusiasm to innovate in the artificial intelligence sector, the company could continue to lag behind in certain departments – Apple Maps, for example – due to its stances on secrecy and privacy.

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First Wave of Apple Watches Begin Shipping Ahead of Friday’s Launch

Apple Watch pre-orders are being sent to centralized distribution points across the United States as couriers prepare the shipments to be delivered ahead of the wrist-worn device’s launch on April 24, according to a source for MacRumors that has provided accurate information in the past.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts confirmed earlier this month that Apple Watch pre-order deliveries will begin on April 24 as scheduled, although many customers have received shipping estimates of 4-6 weeks or later and it remains unknown how many Apple Watch pre-orders will be delivered on day one.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders began switching from „Processing Items“ to „Preparing for Shipment“ on the Apple Online Store for several customers on the Monday prior to Friday delivery, so customers that pre-ordered the Apple Watch early should see their order status change soon. Due to limited stock and the wide 4/24—5/8 delivery estimate for launch day pre-orders, however, there is a possibility that pre-order statuses may take longer to change.

To date, we’ve not seen any reports of pre-orders changing or credit cards being charged.

Apple Watch pre-orders were available on April 10 at 12:01 AM Pacific through the Apple Online Store in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and United Kingdom, and sold out completely in less than six hours. The company also began taking Apple Watch try-on appointments the same day at Apple retail stores and select fashion boutiques such as Selfridges in London, Isetan in Tokyo and Galeries Lafayette in Paris.




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