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 secrecy is damaging its AI research

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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Apple’s Culture of Secrecy Slowing its Artificial Intelligence Development

Apple Announces New ResearchKit Studies for Autism, Epilepsy and Melanoma

Apple today announced that researchers from Duke University, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health & Science University are launching three new ResearchKit studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma.

“We’re honored to work with world-class medical institutions and provide them with tools to better understand diseases and ultimately help people lead healthier lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “In just six months, ResearchKit apps studying everything from asthma and diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, are already providing insights to scientists around the world and more than 100,000 participants are choosing to contribute their data to advance science and medical research.”

ResearchKit is an open source framework, launched in early 2014, that enables developers to create their own iPhone apps for research purposes, with studies available for asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and more. More than 50 developers and researchers have already contributed new research modules to the open source framework.

ResearchKit apps can access data from the Health app with permission, and use iPhone sensors such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and GPS to track a user’s activity levels, motor impairments, memory and more. The research apps, available on the App Store in the United States, are compatible with the iPhone 5 or later and fifth-generation iPod touch or later.



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Apple Announces New ResearchKit Studies for Autism, Epilepsy and Melanoma

Apple Loses A7/A8 Patent Lawsuit, Could Owe University of Wisconsin Up to $862 Million

Last year, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which protects the University of Wisconsin’s intellectual rights and patents, sued Apple for infringing on one of its processor patents. According to the lawsuit, Apple used the University’s technology in its A7, A8, and A8X processors included in the 2013 and 2014 iPhone and iPad lineup.

A Wisconsin jury today found Apple guilty of infringing on the patent owned by WARF, reports Reuters, and as a result, the Cupertino-based company could be forced to pay up to $862 million in damages. The jury also ruled that the patent was valid, negating Apple’s argument that it was invalid and no infringement had taken place.

Cupertino, California-based Apple denied any infringement and argued the patent is invalid, according to court papers. Apple previously tried to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the patent’s validity, but in April the agency rejected the bid.

According to a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge William Conley, who is presiding over the case, Apple could be liable for up to $862.4 million in damages.

Granted in 1998, the patent in question covers a method for improving processor efficiency and is titled „Table based data speculation circuit for parallel processing computer.“ It lists several current and former University of Wisconsin researchers as inventors.

Now that the jury has decided Apple used the university’s technology in its processors, the trial will move on to decide the damages owed. Following that, there will be a third trial phase to determine whether Apple willfully infringed on the patent, which could significantly increase the damages owed.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has also filed a second lawsuit against Apple for the same patent, accusing the company of using the technology in the A9 and A9X found in the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and iPad Pro.



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Apple Loses A7/A8 Patent Lawsuit, Could Owe University of Wisconsin Up to $862 Million

Former NBA player uses all 5 fingers to palm Apple products

Former NBA player Rex Chapman pleaded guilty to four counts of felony theft this week. He was arrested for not only stealing over $15,000 worth of Apple gear from the store in Scottsdale, Arizona, but also for selling it at local pawn shops. Chapman allegedly pretended to use the Apple Store’s self-checkout system, leaving without […]

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


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Former NBA player uses all 5 fingers to palm Apple products

A great reason not to jailbreak your iPhone

If you enjoy customizing your iPhone, jailbreaking can be a positive thing — although that doesn’t mean it comes without risks. According to a new report, around 225,000 Apple accounts have been stolen by malware on jailbroken iPhones, in what is claimed to be “one of the largest known thefts of its kind.” In some cases, this […]

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A great reason not to jailbreak your iPhone