Apple claims there's a lot of "hidden" AI already in iOS

Apple claims there's a lot of
Not too long ago, we suggested that Apple has a limit to how far its artificial intelligence program could go because of the company's adherence to maintaining user privacy. Now, we're not claiming Apple saw that and wants to try to change the narrative, but Apple execs spoke extensively to Backchannel about how much AI already exists in iOS although you might not realize it.

The Apple execs did temper their language, claiming that AI isn't the "final frontier" that other companies are making it out to be, but pointed out a number of AI and machine learning initiatives at Apple. For example, Siri was moved to a neural network for voice recognition back in 2014. The article also points out some subtle ways iOS will use machine learning, like suggesting the name of a caller not in your contacts based on another message; showing you a predicted group of apps you might want to use next; receiving a reminder of an appointment in a message that isn't in your calendar; showing the hotel where you have reservations when you tap the search bar in Maps; and even the palm-rejection feature when using the Apple Pencil was trained using machine learning.

However, the execs did confirm that Apple doesn't have a dedicated AI or machine learning team within the company. So, it's kind of hard to sort out exactly what Apple expects us to take from this. We haven't been alone in saying that Apple is either behind in terms of AI or will ultimately not be able to keep up, but no one has claimed that Apple has no AI work happening. Apple will certainly be able to find ways to use intelligence and machine learning to offer predictive features like those listed above, but the question remains as to how far those features can go if the processing can only happen on a user device because Apple's privacy limits what data is shared to Apple servers.

source: Backchannel

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26 Comments

1. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

lol !! how you doing?

39. cheetah2k

Posts: 2290; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Hidden AI? Is that like TimCocks hidden turd when he goes for the back door? Maybe they're talking about their predictive text? hahahaha The BS that apple spins is absolutely amazing.

2. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

They can catch up, using all that $$$$

3. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

All this thought that AI requires privacy invasion is just short-sighted and ridiculous. Nothing stops AI from merely being a local application/server that can be continuously updated OTA and can reach out to the internet for information that isn't personal. That could possibly be implemented in an Apple Time Capsule or a NAS. If Apple can implement AI without the privacy-invasion, similar to how they implemented face/object recognition locally in iOS 10, then they'll be serious competition to microsoft and google who have taken the lazy privacy-invasion route.

4. AlikMalix unregistered

Mr electrifyer, what they are talking for this AI is to learn YOU and be a "personal" assistant. What you suggested is just an engine search with voice recognition and every Voice Assistant does that already. It will take some major innovation for AI to take what you said and be able to learn off of that without the need to dig thru personal data stored on some remote server (how GoogleNow does it).

6. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Learning about me doesn't need 24/7 internet nor public cloud, iOS 10 does facial recognition based on local algorithms and contacts data. Calendars, I'd much rather host my calendar via my local NAS. A flexible AI could simply give the option to input the calDav details of which calendar you want to use, and do all schedule management via pre-built algorithms. As time goes on and it improves, those new algorithms could be sent as an OTA update. Same with e-mail, contacts, connected home appliances, etc. Technically, all of that could be considered as "invading privacy", but it's nothing more invasive than the local indexing service already on your computer. Only you can access that information as it's stored on your system. That's how the privacy concious AI can work. Perhaps for the updates, it could either be subscription service or pay for each update.

8. Barney_stinson

Posts: 672; Member since: May 30, 2016

well! AI is not siri !!!

10. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Uhm, ok...what's your point?

12. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

whats happens when you want that information to carrier over no matter where you are?

13. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

That's what my private cloud does via my NAS.

14. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

If traveling to another country for long period or permanent, simply pack my NAS with me, plug it in at the new location and resume like nothing happened. Short term travels, so long as I have internet, I can access the information via VPN. That's what I get from my QNAP TS-470 Pro.

17. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Simply pack your NAS with you? The QNAP?! It's like 10lbs & roughly 440 cubic inches, and costs over a thousand dollars. Plus, you're reliant on AC outlets as a power supply. That's not simple. That's rather friggin' inconvenient. The QNAP is great as an NVR for home security video surveillance, but for most would just be a gussied up media server. So, the NAS stays home as the only real option. And, while you're traveling or otherwise out and about, it's still only going to work so long as you have internet access. Doesn't matter what data speeds the TS-470 Pro is capable of then as you're limited to your carrier's max 4G (5G someday) speeds. Unless, are you also lugging around a WiFi router? Something else to plug in... (I'm excluding broadband dongles as viable internet connectivity as we're talking mobile phones here, not items like laptops.) All that... And it still doesn't address the main points that Alik brought up. If the system can only use user-specified data and only at user-specified times and places, all you really have is a glorified Google search and an app like Remember The Milk. Worse yet, is if you're the type that disables all cookies and clears search history upon exiting. Then your AI is more like 10 Second Tom from 50 First Dates. The final caveat is this... If you're AI exists only as a local instance (even if networked/VPN'd) then if anything happens to that device - the whole AI personal assistant is lost and you have to start the learning process all over again.

22. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"Simply pack your NAS with you? The QNAP?! It's like 10lbs & roughly 440 cubic inches, and costs over a thousand dollars. Plus, you're reliant on AC outlets as a power supply. That's not simple" Options, have you ever heard of it? In case you haven't, that's 1 in many different kinds of NAS available. Given everything else you'll be packing on that long-term or permanent trip to a new place, yes it is simple...unless you're living in the stoneage where there weren't electric outlets at every house. "The QNAP is great as an NVR for home security video surveillance, but for most would just be a gussied up media server." Doesn't mean it can't be used for many other tasks, including managing my contacts, calendars, e-mail, etc. "So, the NAS stays home as the only real option. And, while you're traveling or otherwise out and about, it's still only going to work so long as you have internet access." That's what I referred to in my post a short-term travelling. "All that... And it still doesn't address the main points that Alik brought up. If the system can only use user-specified data and only at user-specified times and places, all you really have is a glorified Google search and an app like Remember The Milk" WTF are you talking about? A NAS sitting at home will still be running 24/7 and managing all the data from contacts, e-mail, calendar, and files. What more does AI need? Tracking your whereabouts and browsing activity 24/7? I don't need nor care about the "benefits" of such, but if you so want it, that can also be implemented via an app on a smartphone that'll be sending the location/browsing data back to the NAS. "The final caveat is this... If you're AI exists only as a local instance (even if networked/VPN'd) then if anything happens to that device - the whole AI personal assistant is lost and you have to start the learning process all over again." Backups, ever heard of it? You're really sounding like a negligent user with all these your excuses in defending privacy invasion.

40. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

That's the option you listed as "simply". Of course there are other options, but... Naming the TS-740 Pro was really more of name drop for a shiny new toy. If you're in the middle of a long transit (half a day to a few days in the air or on the road) and packing your NAS with you... You have squat. No AC outlet, no NAS, no AI. No managing anything if it's offline. But that's fine, a NAS is just overkill for managing/syncing calendar events and contacts, email, etc. Your basic smartphone can do that already. (It's kind of been their primary purpose in the first place.) Wait... Wait wait wait. So, you acknowledge the NAS is running 24/7 connected to the internet, but don't think your data is being tracked? That's just silly. Are you the one also running every server and router that data passes through between your devices? If you use the internet, you are tracked. If you use the internet, your data is vulnerable. VPN, Tor, proxy, encryption... These tactics make your data a harder target, but all it takes is a little know-how and motivation (okay, and time... Lots of time) to defeat all that. (Perhaps I'm actually more paranoid than you are.) And backups? Where are your backups? At home? In the NAS? Stored remotely off site? (Again, really chipping away at any possibility of a simple solution here.) If you're traveling or otherwise away from home and something happens to your NAS... blackout, flood, fire, various acts of god(s)... You have no backup accessible. Unless, they're backed up to a cloud... It's beginning to appear as though you have no idea what AI is actually intended for. The intent of AI is not to manage and sync data... It's to anticipate your needs & wants and deliver them to you (the goal is before you even knew you needed/wanted something) by inferring your habits, without you having to actively pursue them yourself.

5. therealestmc

Posts: 679; Member since: Jul 23, 2012

I live Apple devices as much as the next person but I must agree with the article on this. This whole privacy thing is keeping Apple behind because your phone will not have the necessary power to process the amount data to be an effective AI like a powerful server in the cloud can.

9. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

What do you intend on doing with AI? Facial recognition has already been proven to be possible locally with iOS 10, what wouldn't be possible if that is possible? Really curious...

20. nodes

Posts: 1163; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

when you have tons of photos, like 50k maybe. it takes days or even weeks to process all of them.

25. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

And who says it all needs to be processed simulataneously for personal use? Do you look through all 50k photos at the same time on 1 screen? No, you only look at 1 at a time like a normal human being. If 1 hasn't been facially recognized, it could be made priority when you open it. Otherwise, it just remains in queue like the others until the AI gets to processing it.

35. TBomb

Posts: 1634; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Just a heads up, there is more to AI than facial recognition. For instance, the movie Her does a pretty good job at showing some other pieces.

36. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Alright, I'll watch that later tonight.

7. iDing-Dong unregistered

Yep, tons of hidden bugs ready for your nightmare every time you update lol.

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

not AI, that's just some ancient machine learning, decision support system, and expert system... definitely not an AI the time the system has it own consciousness, and it's own will, that's​ when we can call it AI

19. Ezio2710

Posts: 548; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

Apple Invasion

21. nodes

Posts: 1163; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

people acting like their data is so precious. nobody would get your nudes even if they are free. lol.

27. guests

Posts: 196; Member since: Jun 19, 2016

yeah, one of the hidden AI is the ability to milk sheep's money without their knowledge... intelligence indeed.

29. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

..........#tryintoohard

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