Apple nabs Google's chief of AI and search John Giannandrea to broaden Siri, self-driving ...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2018
Apple has hired John Giannandrea away from Google to head up Apple's machine learning and AI strategy, and will report directly to CEO Tim Cook.




Giannandrea led the charge at Google to infuse artificial intelligence across Google's range of products. Divisions that have seen improvements because of Gianandrea's involvement include Gmail, Google Assistant, and the search business at the core of Google's business.

"Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear," Cook said in an email to staff members obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday afternoon. "John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal."

Giannandrea joined Google as part of an acqui-hire from the purchase of Metaweb in 2010. Google eventually rolled the Metaweb product into its search results, but the buy greatly expanded Google's AI talent pool, growing the company's research dramatically.

Google confirmed Giannandrea was stepping down from his role as chief of artificial intelligence and head of search on Monday, with a spokesperson for the company saying that he would stay at Google. At the time, the statement from the company said that the move would allow him to spend more time with technology itself on behalf of the company.

Tuesday's hire is not Giannandrea's first connection to Apple. His early AI work was done at Apple spin-off General Magic in the mid '90s prior to a move to Netscape. He is also believed to have been working on Google's self-driving car initiative in addition to his responsibilities with Google's search business.

"Computers are incredibly powerful but they are also pretty dumb, and I think we need to work hard to make them fulfill the potential that they have and so that means teaching them to be smarter," Giannandrea said to CNBC in September. "Technology should augment the human intellect, not replace it. It should be a powerful tool to help us think better, and I think that is really the journey we are on."

He later founded voice recognition company TellMe, prior to founding Metaweb in 2005.

"There is just a huge amount of unwarranted hype around AI right now. Machine learning and artificial intelligence is extremely important and will revolutionize many vertical industries, and I am very excited by the progress we are making," said Giannandrea, responding to a question about an AI-driven apocalypse. "But, it is very practical and applied progress. And I think what we are doing is building tools, like, say, the Google Search engine, that make you more productive."
patchythepirate
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,960member
    This is a big hire for Apple.  Hopefully he sticks around long enough to make an impact, unlike the Siri founders.
    randominternetpersonbb-15jSnivelypatchythepiratecornchipequality72521albegarcargonautjony0
  • Reply 2 of 44
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,151member
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    methetechmanAlex1Nbb-15patchythepiratecornchipequality72521albegarcpalomineargonautjony0
  • Reply 3 of 44
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,960member
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    "Hopefully it’s an SVP position." => Exactly.  And move Siri under his leadership as Federighi has enough on his plate managing all the OS projects.
    edited April 2018 Alex1Nbb-15patchythepiratealbegarcwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 44
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,151member
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    "Hopefully it’s an SVP position." => Exactly.  And move Siri under his leadership as Federighi has enough on his plate managing all the OS projects.
    How about giving him iCloud too?
    Alex1Npatchythepiratecornchip
  • Reply 5 of 44
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,726member
    His first task will be to get Siri to pronounce his surname. 
    minicoffeeAlex1NfastasleepStrangeDaysradarthekataegeanTuuborbeowulfschmidtargonautjony0
  • Reply 6 of 44
    Wow.  Poaching the "head of search" from a company synonymous with search?!  Hopefully he knows exactly what he's in for and sticks around for a long time (and recruits the best and the brightest in AI to work for him).
    Alex1NcanukstormSpamSandwichbb-15patchythepiratecornchipequality72521albegarcpalomineargonaut
  • Reply 7 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    It's a good time to be in the A.I. biz, that's for sure.
    radarthekatcornchip
  • Reply 8 of 44
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    Rayz2016 said:
    His first task will be to get Siri to pronounce his surname. 
    Gonorrhoea is very easy to say.
    SpamSandwichkuduargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 44
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    Wow.  Poaching the "head of search" from a company synonymous with search?!  Hopefully he knows exactly what he's in for
    Ok, I’d like to...

    Not allowed.

    How about I...

    Nope.

    Ok, I’ll...

    Sorry.

    I’ll go now. Figured all your privacy talk was mostly marketing.

    Nope.

    Ok, bye.
    edited April 2018 cornchipTuuborpbone15argonaut
  • Reply 10 of 44
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,767member
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    Hopefully he gets the support to build a great team $$$  -  "Hey Siri set a 2nd timer for 6 minutes"   
    cornchipirelandargonaut
  • Reply 11 of 44
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,151member
    k2kw said:
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    Hopefully he gets the support to build a great team $$$  -  "Hey Siri set a 2nd timer for 6 minutes"   
    I’m surprised it took Cook (and the board) this long to realize Apple needed someone specific to oversee these areas. Cue is clueless and Federighi had more than enough already on his plate. Now just give this guy iCloud and ship Eddy to LA.
    patchythepiratecornchipd_2
  • Reply 12 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    k2kw said:
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    Hopefully he gets the support to build a great team $$$  -  "Hey Siri set a 2nd timer for 6 minutes"   
    "Here's what I found about 'a second I'm her for sax minus' on the web!"
    edited April 2018 cornchipequality72521palomine
  • Reply 13 of 44
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,888member
    Do not hold your breath, yet... That may be a consultant-type job as well, “reporting directly to TC...”
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 14 of 44
    Thank you 8 pound 6 ounce baby jesus! Can't wait till siri gets better. Siri is still just so so terrible. Also can't wait to stop hearing the pathetic excuse that the only reason siri sucks is because of privacy. This is fantastic news. Thank you Tim.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    Thank you 8 pound 6 ounce baby jesus! Can't wait till siri gets better. Siri is still just so so terrible. Also can't wait to stop hearing the pathetic excuse that the only reason siri sucks is because of privacy. This is fantastic news. Thank you Tim.
    Fingers still crossed that Apple makes a bid for IBM or comes to some kind of exclusive licensing arrangement with IBM for Watson.
    patchythepirateiqatedowatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 44
    Also, can we please get a personal siri screen that syncs between devices so I can stop shouting at my HomePod every time I want to adjust the volume or skip a track? Maybe fuse this with a 'proactive' component like the app suggestions, driving suggestions, etc. And maybe a way to adjust our personal siri settings? I'd like the option for siri to stop with the annoying comments every time I ask her to do something. Does anyone else get annoyed when setting a "goodnight" scene and siri always has some obnoxious thing to say as you're about to go to sleep? Would it be that hard for siri to just say "g'night" like a normal person?
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 17 of 44
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,151member
    Do not hold your breath, yet... That may be a consultant-type job as well, “reporting directly to TC...”
    I don’t think a consultant to Cook would warrant a memo to Apple employees. But I think it will be telling if he’s given an SVP position or just VP like Lisa Jackson. SVP would mean Apple is really serious about building out a world class AI/ML organization. Just an example, Apple currently has around 200 open positions with Siri in the job title. Know how many Amazon has for Alexa? Over 1,000. Maybe this new Campus Cook has talked about will be an AL/ML campus and Apple will ramp up hiring in that space. I don’t think there’s really a secrecy issue there where those employees would need to be in Cupertino.
    randominternetpersonFolio
  • Reply 18 of 44
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,361member
    k2kw said:
    Wonderful news. Even more wonderful that he’s reporting directly to Tim Cook and not some middle manager under Cue or Federighi. Hopefully it’s an SVP position.
    Hopefully he gets the support to build a great team $$$  -  "Hey Siri set a 2nd timer for 6 minutes"   
    "Here's what I found about 'a second I'm her for sax minus' on the web!"
    That’s funny.
    SpamSandwichireland
  • Reply 19 of 44

    I would hazard a guess that a hire of this calibre and at this level would have taken anywhere from 6-12 months - just the process of shortlisting potential candidates would have probably taken months.

    So, it means that Apple has been on the ball all the time about its AI initiatives. Yet, naysayers on this forum have been berating Apple about its supposed lack of foresight and planning in improving its AI/voice assistant capabilities.

    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 44

    I would hazard a guess that a hire of this calibre and at this level would have taken anywhere from 6-12 months - just the process of shortlisting potential candidates would have probably taken months.

    So, it means that Apple has been on the ball all the time about its AI initiatives. Yet, naysayers on this forum have been berating Apple about its supposed lack of foresight and planning in improving its AI/voice assistant capabilities.

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but it’s been 7 years and Siri is still terrible. 
    SpamSandwichireland
Sign In or Register to comment.