Apple, the company that gave the world iPhones and Mac computers, has bought out Waterloo (Ontario) based machine-learning startup Inductiv Inc. The company will now join the list of dozens of others startups from the same field, which have made their way into Apple’s household.
In terms of a statement, it was Apple’s usual, stating it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” However, looking at the company and the Inductiv’s automated data cleaning tech, it once again points towards possible Siri-focused enhancements. The startup will also work with Apple to improve its machine learning, and data science capabilities.
The company specialises in Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, which is a part of “Data Science”. Machine learning is the newest weapon in a programmer’s arsenal, and has led to the emergence of technology that learns from itself, the machine and the user’s behaviour. There are two ways of developing software. First, there is the conventional route, where a coder writes a code, specifying the boundations and rules, to obtain an output. ML, which Inductiv specialises in, uses outputs that have already been derived, which are fed into a machine, which can then predict future outputs and behaviours.
However, for correct predictions, data fed into a machine has to be “clean” and as free from discrepancies as possible. Inductiv uses Artificial intelligence to to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data, thus achieving “cleanliness”. That could be extremely helpful if Apple wants to make Siri even more accurate and self-reliant. Users input all sorts of data into Siri, most with some level of disturbances. Inductiv’s tech could plug in, clean the input that Siri receives and provide more accurate output to users.
Inductiv was co-founded by machine-learning professors from Stanford University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Another similar AI acquisition that Apple made recently, was that of Voysis. The company is into enhancing speech recognition, a service that will once again help in improving the overall Siri experience. Voysis’ technology is based on Wavenets, an AI tech first used by Google’s DeepMind back in 2016. Wavenets is basically an AI method to create a more human-like computer speech experience. What Voysis has been able to achieve, is the compression of this tech to an extent, that it now reportedly acquires just 25MB of memory for the software, once the AI is trained.
The company has made as slew of other acquisitions in the AI field, including the acquisition of Seattle-based startup Turi, Silk Labs and Xnor.ai, which was powering on-device person detection used by smart home camera maker Wyze. The company also made investments in other fields, like acquiring NextVR, a company with a decade of experience pairing virtual reality with sports and entertainment.