Apple buys Waterloo-based AI startup in effort to improve Siri

The tech giant's voice-activated assistant still lags behind Alexa and Google Assistant


Despite recent efforts to open Siri up to third-party apps, Apple’s voice-activated assistant still lags behind competitors like Alexa and Google Assistant in several ways.

The recent acquisition of Waterloo, Ontario-based Inductiv, a company that uses AI to correct data and improve machine learning, could be yet another example of Apple aiming to close that gap. The tech giant confirmed the acquisition to Bloomberg, but didn’t elaborate on its plans, stating that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” The concept of “clean data” is important to machine learning because it allows AI to improve software with “less human intervention,” according to Bloomberg.

Inductiv was co-founded by machine-learning professors from Stanford University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A company founded by the professor from Stanford University, Lattice Data, was also purchased by Apple back in 2017. Apple recently acquired startup Voysis to reportedly improve Siri’s natural language comprehension.

Given both of these acquisitions are recent, it will likely be several months or even years before Inductiv’s and Voysis’ technologies are integrated into Apple’s voice-activated assistant.

Source: Bloomberg