It is about time Alexa and Google Assistant finally starts getting some real competition?
John Giannandrea, who was Google's former head of search and AI, recently moved to Apple and he might actually just do a lot. The more pressing answer is "fix Siri", Luckily Giannandrea seems to be the right person for the job.
The Scottish engineer was poached by Apple in April, but this new title and position were only announced earlier this week. He is now "chief of machine learning and AI strategy", which means he will be overseeing the team that combines two of the iPhone maker's most important AI product: Core ML – which is Apple's machine learning framework for apps.
It helps developers run AI tools smoothly on mobile devices, and it's essential for Apple to maintain its lead as the home of the world's most advanced apps. And Siri, well, you know Siri. It is Apple's underpowered AI assistant that was first to market among the big tech companies, and it has been losing ground ever since.
That's where Giannandrea comes in. Looking at the latest Apple AI chief's history, it's easy to pick up on some consistent themes. Giannandrea has worked on technology that involves processing speech and text and providing useful information to users. That seems perfect for someone who is tasked with upgrading a computer assistant.
So how does Giannandrea relate to Siri? In many ways, Siri is just an answering machine. When we use it, we're either trying to retrieve information (like finding out what the weather will be like tomorrow) or carry out a command (like playing a song). In both cases, it requires the computer to understand what you want and how to get you what you need.