TensorFlow is now available for those shiny new ARM-based Macs

A new version of machine learning library TensorFlow has been released with optimisations for Apple’s new ARM-based Macs.

While still technically in pre-release, the Mac-optimised TensorFlow fork supports native hardware acceleration on Mac devices with M1 or Intel chips through Apple’s ML Compute framework.

The new TensorFlow release boasts of an over 10x speed improvement for common training tasks. While impressive, it has to be taken in the context that the GPU...

Apple acquires Voysis to boost Siri’s language skills

Apple has reportedly acquired Irish AI startup Voysis, with the move set to help enhance Siri’s skill at natural language understanding.

Voysis specialises in improving digital assistants inside online shopping applications wherein the software could respond more precisely to voice commands. According to the start-up, its technology could narrow product search results by processing shopping phrases like “I need a new LED TV” and “My budget is $1,000.” This AI was...

Apple buys edge AI experts Xnor.ai for a reported $200 million

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Apple has acquired Seattle-based edge AI experts Xnor.ai for a reported $200 million.

If you recognise Xnor.ai, it’s likely because the company’s technology once powered the person-detection feature on Wyze’s popular cameras. Xnor.ai abruptly cancelled their contract with Wyze back in November – and now we know why.

In layman’s terms, edge computing means the processing is done on-device. On-device computation has significant advantages when it comes to...

Google Assistant wins IQ test, but Alexa and Siri are catching up

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Google Assistant continues to lead the virtual assistant pack, but its rivals are close behind according to a new IQ study by Loup Ventures.

Loup Ventures asked each of the three main virtual assistants – Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri – a total of 800 questions. The assistants understood almost every question, even if not all of the responses were correct/sufficient.

In terms of understanding the questions, these are the results:

Google Assistant – 100...

Apple reportedly wants to ‘acqui-hire’ self-driving car startup Drive.ai

Apple is reportedly mulling a purchase of self-driving car startup Drive.ai in an ‘acqui-hire’ deal to grab its talent.

Drive.ai is full of skilled personnel after being founded in 2016 by a pioneering team of graduates from Stanford’s AI lab. With AI talent in short supply, it seems Apple is considering purchasing a whole company to get the skills on its side.

Apple would not get any of Drive.ai’s intellectual property as part of the deal, only the minds behind...

Apple bolsters its AI talent with Laserlike acquisition

Apple has announced the acquisition of AI company Laserlike to add to its growing roster of in-house talent.

Laserlike is known for its AI-powered app which makes it easier for users to follow news topics. Most notably, it was founded by former Google engineers.

Few people think of Apple as an AI leader. The firm’s closest rival, Google, has invested heavily in AI for many years (as much for its cloud and search businesses as mobile).

Apple is, therefore,...

Apple promotes AI engineer poached from Google to SVP

Sometimes it’s difficult keeping track of Silicon Valley appointments, but John Giannandrea’s journey is one worth keeping tabs on. Giannandrea is one of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds in AI. He came under the spotlight for heading Google’s search and artificial intelligence operations. After spending eight years at Google, back in April he was poached by Apple to lead its Siri and CoreML efforts. His positive impact at Apple was clearly noted. In a statement, Apple CEO Tim...

Google’s old AI boss is now at Apple in charge of Siri and ML efforts

Google's poached head of search and artificial intelligence is now leading Siri and machine learning efforts at rival Apple. John Giannandrea joined Google back in 2010 before stepping down in April this year. He announced he'd been hired by Apple the following day, but in what position had been a mystery until now. It was obvious Giannandrea would be stepping into a big role at Apple, and that's exactly what's happened. AI is becoming increasingly important and an area where Google is seen...

Apple aims to simplify AI models with CreateML and Core ML 2

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During its annual WWDC event, Apple announced the launch of its CreateML tool alongside the sequel of its Core ML framework. CreateML aims to simplify the creation of AI models. In fact, because it’s built in Swift, it’s possible to use drag-and-drop programming interfaces like Xcode Playgrounds to train models. Core ML, Apple’s machine learning framework, was first introduced at WWDC last year. This year, the company has focused on making it leaner and meaner. Apple claims Core ML 2...

Apple has poached Google’s AI chief

A mere day after we reported Google’s head of AI was stepping down, it’s emerged Apple has given him a position leading their efforts. John Giannandrea stepped down on Monday but was expected to be staying at Google. He reportedly wanted to be in a position that allowed him to be “more hands-on with technology” than in his previous role. It seems that Apple offered him the opportunity he was looking for. Apple is often regarded in tech circles as trailing Google when it comes to...