Apple hires Carnegie Mellon expert to enhance artificial intelligence projects

Apple’s had a hard time attracting top artificial intelligence talent because of its habitual secrecy, but the tech company’s luck might be turning.

Carnegie Mellon AI academic Russ Salakhutdinov tweeted this past week that he accepted a role with Apple as the director of AI research. He also posted a link to an Apple job application page seeking machine learning specialists.

Bloomberg reports that the last 12 months have seen Apple rapidly enhance its investments in AI by acquiring half-a-dozen startups. While Apple is known for its secrecy, this practice has apparently hindered its attempts to attract top talent because of its negative view towards researchers publishing their findings.

Salakhutdinov will continue to work at Carnegie Mellon while advising Apple. He was previously at the University of Toronto and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with some of his research funded by Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and has regularly collaborated with researchers from Google’s parent company Alphabet.

The academic conducted his research in the areas which are crucial to today’s tech giants, such as machine learning and neural networks. Currently, companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft are competing to make their virtual assistants, such as Siri, Alexa and the Google Assistant, respond to users’ needs.

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