Apple snags Google's top AI executive - report

MANILA, Philippines - Apple last Tuesday announced that they have hired John Giannandrea, chief of artificial intelligence (AI) and Search at Google, to lead their “learning and AI strategy” division.

Giannandrea becomes one of the 16 executives who reports directly to Apple chief executive, Tim Cook. “Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Cook wrote in an email to staff members obtained by The New York Times, who first broke the story. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”

Despite being one of the first in the industry to break new ground with its voice-based digital assistant Siri, many now say that Apple’s AI technology lags behind the competition namely Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Snagging Giannandrea is Apple’s bid to improve AI quality and move its development forward.

Apple has made it clear in the past that it would never compromise the privacy of its users and its online services, limiting its access to tons of digital data and opportunities to build services with neural networks, which are all beneficial in AI technology. With Giannandrea on-board, Apple hopes to finally find a workaround to this problem.

Giannandrea, who joined Google in 2010, is responsible for making AI research important in Google with Brain Lab. He is also to thank for Metaweb, a shared database of the world’s knowledge, which gave Google the ability to directly answer search queries.

When it comes to concerns of the rapid advancements of AI technology, Giannandrea has previously said in an MIT interview, “I understand why people are concerned about it but I think it’s gotten way too much airtime. I just see no technological basis as to why this is imminent at all.” – Rappler.com