Apple buys AI startup to improve Siri's machine learning1
The Ontario-based AI company's engineering team has reportedly joined Apple in recent weeks, and is going to be working on improving Siri's machine learning and data management. Responding to an inquiry by Bloomberg, Apple has confirmed the acquisition, saying that it buys smaller tech companies "from time to time" and generally does not discuss the purpose or plans behind it.
As we know, Siri falls behind other virtual assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana, due to Apple choosing to prioritize user privacy, meaning minimal user data collection is used towards improving its virtual assistant, at least when compared to its rivals.
The Cupertino company has long shown interest in taking its virtual assistant to the next level by purchasing AI companies or hiring engineers from such, in order to have the right people working on Siri's underlying technology and machine learning. Back in early 2018, Apple hired engineers from Silicon Valley Data Science, a well-known AI and data science company still expanding today, and prior to that, many more teams and small AI and data startups were acquired by the Cupertino giant.
Despite its disadvantages due to Apple's user privacy policies, in a recent report by market research firm Futuresource Consulting, Siri was said to be the world's leading virtual assistant, holding a 35% market share, with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa following behind with 9% and 4% market shares respectively.