Apple’s AI development hampered by company’s secretive nature

Apple’s penchant for secrecy is likely slowing down its development of artificial intelligence technology, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple regularly eschews active participation in major artificial intelligence conferences attended by rivals such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM, instead sending representatives to merely attend and observe while keeping a low profile. Further, Apple’s representatives at these conferences are told not to identify themselves as Apple employees unless specifically asked. Researches and professors attending the conference describe Apple’s secrecy as being “off the scale” and the company as “completely out of the loop” when it comes to the latest development in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Even within Apple, new hires on the AI teams are prohibited from announcing their positions on services such as LinkedIn, are required to lock their office doors whenever they leave, and kept in the dark about what similar Apple teams are doing. While Apple has traditionally succeeded in the marketplace despite of – and in some cases due to – its opacity, most researches feel that in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the company can’t afford to merely observe from the sidelines and not be an active participant in the community. In addition to the company not benefiting from the sharing of knowledge, the report suggests that the small pool of potential hires available in the field of AI will also keep Apple from being at the cutting edge, as most of the really strong people are unlikely to want to work in a closed and secretive environment where they won’t be able to actively participate in the scientific community.

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