Jun 9, 2017 - Economy

Tim Cook: people are wrong to discount Apple's AI efforts

Apple may be late to the party with its AI-enabled HomePod personal assistant and speaker system, but CEO Tim Cook tells the MIT Technology Review that doesn't mean that the firm isn't on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence technology.

Cook says that the iPhone is chock-full of AI capabilities, like photo recognition, a music-recommendation engine, and a system that helps conserve battery power. The difference, Cook, says Apple is less flashy when it comes to touting future developments. "We are not going to go through things we're going to do in 2019, '20, '21," Cook said. "It's not because we don't know that. It's because we don't want to talk about that."

What they are doing now: While Siri is the most visible aspect of Apple's AI work, the company has also added a bunch of machine learning capabilities in iOS 11, the next version of the iPhone operating system, including new tools to let developers tap computer vision and natural language processing capabilities.

Why it matters: Apple has gotten flak for trailing competitors Amazon and Google in this space. Some of the issues are matters of approach. Amazon and Google have opened their assistants more broadly than Apple, which has focused on adding capabilities to Siri one capability at a time. More broadly, some have expressed concern that Apple doesn't have enough customer data as rivals because of its focus on privacy.

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