Apple acquires machine learning startup for Siri integration

Apple has acquired a machine learning company called Inductiv, according to Bloomberg.

The company had been working on new technology that uses artificial intelligence to identify and correct errors, and now it appears as though the engineering team from the firm has joined Apple to work on new projects for the company, including its smart assistant Siri.

Inductiv staffers will also work on new projects under Apple’s data science and machine learning teams on future undisclosed projects.

Apple confirmed the news when asked, issuing its usual statement, letting journalists know that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time” and that it doesn’t “discuss our purpose or plans” for such acquisitions.

The company was founded by Stanford University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Wisconsin professors, and uses artificial intelligence to automate the process of identifying and correcting errors in data. The idea behind the company is to ‘clean’ data to improve machine learning, reducing the need for human intervention.

In recent months, Apple has made several other acquisitions, including NextVR, a firm that works to bring together virtual reality and entertainment, and low-power AI company Xnor.ai. I

n 2018, the firm took ownership of Silk Labs, and in 2016 purchased Turi to bolster its machine learning and artificial intelligence teams – all suggesting big improvements for Siri.

It has previously been suggested that Apple may introduce a new operating system for its smart assistant, called SiriOS, which will put a greater focus on voice-based computing, allow Apple to develop Siri separately from iOS and macOS, and sell Siri to third parties.

Apple has been criticized for Siri in recent years, with the firm unable to keep up with the likes of Google and Amazon, who have amassed millions of activations with their Assistant and Alexa-powered smart speakers.

A new low-cost Apple HomePod is expected to be announced in the coming months, and we’ll perhaps hear more on SiriOS at WWDC 2020.

Are you excited to see Siri get some love? What features would you like Apple to introduce?

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Everything Apple, every day. This post was written by an AppleMagazine newsroom writer.