By Samuel Weber,
Technology & Innovation Writer
Apple, though not always on the bleeding edge, has stated that they believe their iPhones to be a major platform for artificial intelligence. With the release of the iPhone X pre-orders only days away, Apple is just starting to push the AI for consumers, but according to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, this is only the beginning.
These comments were made at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) 30th anniversary celebration in Taipei, who are Apple’s top chip manufacturer.
“We think that the frameworks that we’ve got, the ‘neural engines’ we’ve put in the phone, in the watch … we do view that as a huge piece of the future, we believe these frameworks will allow developers to create apps that will do more and more in this space, so we think the phone is a major platform.”
Innovation from Apple is nothing new; however, it has been awhile since they have come out and stated an important goal of the company for the long term. Usually for Apple, they focus on creating hype in the short term, and most of the long-term announcements are leaks from Foxconn, which have become more and more common lately.
Apple has also stated that they are not only interested in AI for their phones, but for the world in general to make a change.
Williams offered the healthcare industry as an example, stating it is an industry, “Ripe for change.” He goes on to state, “Some pieces will be done in data centers, some will be on the device, but we are already doing AI in the broader sense of the word, not the ‘machines thinking for themselves’ version of AI.”
Apple is not the only global tech firm invested heavily in AI, as Amazon recently made headlines for backing a German based lab specifically for artificial intelligence. It joins BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Facebook and Porsche in backing the German initiative launched last year and focused on areas such as machine learning and computer vision.
The investment comes at a cost of about $1.5 million for collaborative efforts for Germany’s cyber valley, as well as $500,000 for individual awards for achievements. This collaboration is expected to create 100 jobs in the next five years.
The research center will be located next to the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, which is a major hotspot for AI, and draw on the expertise of two of its experts, Prof. Bernhard Schoelkopf and Prof. Michael J. Black. Schoelkopf is the innovator of a technology that allows computers to understand causality.
On the other hand, Black is the founder of Body Labs, which is a company acquired by Amazon that developed AI to analyze three-dimensional human body motion and shape.
Lastly, Facebook is collaborating with Intel to produce their new Nervana chip, which is expected to increase AI performance 100 fold by 2020. Facebook’s role in the project is to look further into the chip’s potential and its, “Deep Learning,” capabilities.
Deep Learning is a term coined by Intel, which is the chip’s ability to take shortcuts after the learning phase to perform calculations and discover patterns.
Naveen Rao, vice president of the AI Products Group at Intel Nervana, stated that his hope is to, “Open up the possibilities for a new class of AI applications that are limited only by our imaginations.”
Artificial Intelligence is still in its infancy, and the public will not see self-driving cars or factories filled with only robots with regularity for some time, but the large amounts of money and time being invested by is a positive sign for its development.
The only issue seems to be cost, but that comes with the territory of bleeding edge technology. What does all of this mean? It means that AI is here and it is here to stay.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 7th print edition.
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