Apple Boosts Siri By Hiring Its First Director Of AI Research

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two of the fastest growing fields right now, especially with companies putting so much time and effort into developing digital personal assistants. Count Apple among them. In a move that could have big implications for Siri, Apple went out and hired a well known AI researchers from Caregie Mellon University.

Russ Salakhutdinov broke the news on Twitter saying he's excited to serve as Apple's new director of AI research. He also made a pitch for others with experience in the field to apply for a job on his team. Salakhutdinov and Apple are specifically looking for research scientists with a proven track record in a variety of machine learning methods, including deep learning, reinforcement training, unsupervised learning, and computer perception.
"You will be joining a world-class, multidisciplinary team and will be participating in cutting-edge research in deep learning, machine intelligence, and artificial intelligence. You will be solving real-world, large-scale problems," the job application linked in Salakhutdinov's Twitter post reads.

Apple has been aggressive in its efforts to bolster its AI technologies. Over the past year alone, Apple has purchased a half dozen or more startups with ties to AI, such as Turi, a Seattle-based startup that built a machine learning platform. Apple has also acquired companies in related fields, such as Emotient, a facial recognition startup, and Flyby Media, a spatial perception startup.

As for Salakhutdinov, he's an associate professor in the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science. His Twitter post suggests he'll continue to do work at Carnegie Mellon University, though in what capacity isn't clear. He's also a Microsoft Faculty Fellow and a CV Google Scholar.

Salakhutdinov brings a big brain to Apple. He received his PhD in machine learning from the University of Toronty in 2009, which he later joined as an Assistant Professor after spending two post-doctoral years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Lab. Salakhutdinov stayed at the University of Toronty from 2001 until 2016 before joining Carnegie Mellon University in February of this year.