Machine learning comes up atleast once-a-keynote, so it's not surprising to see a high-profile hire in the area.
I think Apple has traditionally done a really good job of keeping the technology used under wraps, for better or worse.
The only reason why machine learning was not called AI, is because funding for research into AI dried up in the AI winter.
Recently Google decided to revive the AI term, and here we are.
AI is data science but not all data science is AI.
Just the same way folks think they have 'big data'.
"As soon as AI successfully solves a problem, the problem is no longer a part of AI."
This attitude I encountered already on HN:
"By discounting artificial intelligence people can continue to feel unique and special."
AI produces actions
ML produces predictions
Data Science produces insights
I know "it's in AIAMA" is hardly a formal definition but it's good enough for me.
If it's indeed so in your opinion, it is so (in your opinion).
An opinion can be proved wrong.
The statement "in my opinion, X is Y" cannot.
It was technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.
LSA is a knowledge (text) representation technique not machine learning.
For example if you force touch the Maps icon it uses a ML model to determine what favourite location to show.
Unfortunately it takes a few seconds when really just asking the user for a favourite location would've been better.
To me it wasn’t a surprise that Apple finally got out of self driving car project. They simply don’t have cultural aspects to undertake such a massive AI heavy project including hiring and motivating the necessary talent. This is prime example of how money can’t help if you don’t have right culture. They focused on design so much that ML and AI were relavent only to the extent it helped design. Thing is that such pragmatic view doesn’t work in highly exploratory and rapidly advancing field where 90% of the things have no apparent business use but you do need those in the hope of cross-pollination with other 10%.
Apple is not an AI company and is not setup to be an AI company. There will be massive cultural shift that would be needed to turn this around.
While it's easy to start mulling over why and how things are or could have done differently I'd argue that there is no animosity towards American companies per se. The data of its citizens however is a very sensitive issue for EU and in the light of Snowden leaks maybe they are rightfully fearful of US having too much technological hold over them. There is silly people over both sides of the ocean but let's not start willfully feeding rash preconceptions for no reason.
Consider what the Economist has to say about Margrethe Vestager, who runs Europe's trustbusting agency.
Some people have actually bought that idea. But I imagine they'd want the US government to exhibit some of that jealousy against Facebook right about now, too...especially with Facebook now announcing that they won't implement the GDPR globally.
Ironically, it's the same media entities that seem to have essentially admitted they got it wrong with all the negative posts they've published against Facebook recently, and I think those sorts of articles will continue against Google and other privacy-violating companies, too, in the near future.
This is to say: you don't have to be an American company to end up in the crosshairs of overzealous and downright populist regulators.
Source: used to work there, had to help respond to a rather ludicrous 40-page list of questions.
 Headquarters in Amsterdam, culturally strongly influenced by the Dutch, the biggest concentration of staff and virtually all product development in Amsterdam, albeit owned by an American company.
This is a common misconception - GDPR is already "in effect". It will be enforced from 25 May...
> Facebook's tax of 5k/year in the UK, the double irish with a dutch sandwich, the backroom deals from the 80s with the Irish govt.. these are global practices which truly devastate everyone in the long run.
And are all legal, and designed as so by the government. Auditing won't make a difference, since it is legal. Don't like it? Make it illegal. Simple as that.
> actually trust bureaucrats to step in and audit - and subjectively think they very often do a decent job of explaining rationales given europeans' known tendency of bickering on pretty much everything.
Oh, no issue with that. My issue is with this:
> Or Google and Facebook will be held to a higher standard of compliance.
What we're dealing with here is loopholes and nothing more under various incarnations - take patents in the US or the lax tax policies of Malta or Isle of Man as an example - and you'll get a sense on why a bit of cleaning up is sorely needed.
Oh, I agree, it definitely needs cleaning up.
Than whom else? VK? Baidu? ICQ?
Otherwise, it would be a good idea to at least accept the possibility of sincerity when different polities want different rules than the US.
Suggesting that US companies should be above reproach or oversight, by definition, or that the EU would treat local or Asian companies who tried to pull the same stunts more generously is not based on evidence.
If US corporates try to flout European law, they'll suffer consequences. Market cap does not provide a free pass for being a bad actor.
(Possibly thanks to GDPR) companies may object to that request if it costs local laws.
But yeah. Go on pretending that the EU lives to target American companies. From a European's point of view, American companies are not find enough as they view privacy, data, sovereignty etc. as some abstract concepts that don't apply to them.
Sometimes the only reason they make themselves a target is because they make money, and American companies are the largest players in the space, not EU ones.
They should be and that is a great thing.
As for enforcement, if you're a European company you have much more to be worried about since it is going to be much easier to go after you.
Selective enforcement is hopefully going to be limited to going after a couple of very prominent offenders after which the remainder will fall in line.
No, but a correction is long overdue to signal to international companies that the primacy of politics still exists. How companies conduct themselves is determined by European law and European citizens, not businesses.
Companies have only themselves to blame for having brought it on. Whether it's skirting taxes, mistreating user-data or assisting in election-meddling, if companies are not willing to self-regulate they will be regulated. That's an overdue message to send.
This was in anti-trust, because privacy-related enforcement is actually left to the EU states and doesn't actually happen very often.
But in anti-trust, there is no evidence of any bias against US companies. The distribution of (the sum of) fines among EU, American, and Asian companies actually tracks closely with their respective market shares in the EU.
The only divergence I found was slightly fewer/lower fines being levied on US companies, and slightly higher numbers for Asian companies. I would attribute this divergence to the far more advanced oversight in the US vs. most Asian countries: the EU doesn't need to get involved if these companies are well-regulated in their home countries.
It'd be interesting to do a similar analysis for the US. As a
German, I've heard similar grumbling regarding the fines against Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank. Personally, I doubt that those fines are motived by nationalistic motives. They might just show different approaches to corporate wrongdoing, with Germany either being too chummy with its industry, or possibly putting too much trust in the force of negative publicity alone to change behaviour.
Privacy will invariably generate more headline-worthy conflicts with US companies, simply because that's where all the large companies are located. But if you're in the US, I'll also point out a certain bias in what you'll see reported, considering EU fines against exclusively EU companies are unlikely to make the US news.
Trust me when I say that privacy happens to be a major concern of many voters in the EU. There is robust and constant debate regarding, for example, data collection by governments and law enforcements. In Germany, there is major opposition against the increased use of video surveillance, the use of phone location data in law enforcement, and EU legislation requiring the retention of communication data.
There is a low-hum undercurrent of anti-Americanism in some discussions of Facebook, Google et al, possibly more so in France than Germany or the UK. But Europeans are constantly exposed to US media and such familiarity breeds trust. If Facebook where Chinese, or Google were Russian, distrust and call for regulation would be far stronger than it is.
It'll be interesting to see how the first few non-compliance cases go. I would like to think if a requirement was vague, a company had made a reasonable interpretation of it and the company was responsive in making changes to become compliant that no fines would be issued.
The entire ad business, aka, most of their money, is not really GDPR compliant. Collecting tracking data from third party sites is not okay.
True, sort of. They only did that because the EU started an anti-trust investigation against them, though. And now they risk paying a $2.8 billion fine, so maybe Google is still worse off in the end?
At the end of the day, the only way AI systems currently train themselves is if a lot of users share their data, like Google-users do. Apple provides more of a firewall, but handicaps potential AI systems from using training data in doing so.
Also Google has massive mindshare in the AI community with TensorFlow.
I find this to be a general trend with Google: they may have more advanced AI, but haven't yet figured out super-useful ways to apply it.
They also are perfectly willing to undercut their own AI to serve business goals: the Assistant on my Pixel wouldn't even let me do "hey google set a timer for five minutes" if I didn't give Google my full location history. Because you need that to set timers...
I've _tried_ searching in Google Photos before, it just didn't work reliably enough for me try it more frequently (usually searching for more specific stuff than something like "pets with children," though I can't recall any exact examples right now). Searching for location works well, but that's not very hard.
For example, I took a picture of my driver's license a year or so ago, and needed the number on a form recently. I just went to Google Photos and searched for "driver's license." Sure enough, the old picture showed up, even though I never manually tagged it.
OTOH, if I ask Google Photos to show me pictures of me on the beach with my friends X and Y, it shows me a picture from 2005, of exactly what I asked. (literally "me on the beach with X and Y").
And if I ask for pictures of me and my friend Z in a party, it shows me pictures of me at Z's wedding 4 years ago. (literally "me with Z in a party").
That must account for a huge portion of their advances, right?
We are so early on in the AI revolution, it seems very premature to make this claim.
I would wager we can't even imagine the scope of the kind of data we'd have available in the coming decades, let alone how the latest AI tech will use it, or which company will lead the way with its application.
That’s been used to describe every dominant technology company at some point, most of which have been supplanted by now (or else supplanted a company which was previously described in similar terms). Maybe this time it’s true—and Apple certainly has their work cut out for them—but history implies that it’s probably not. Maybe it won’t be Apple, but it’ll probably be somebody.
I can think of more examples.
I agree, and Microsoft is a good example, that a paradigm shift can totally change the playing field. A desktop software oriented company like Microsoft couldn't or wouldn't take their dominance into an internet oriented market.
However Google has managed to transition to mobile and demonstrated they can manage such changes.
From what I've seen of fuchsia they're thinking ahead again.
Last time I used it, this was the case. I don't know if it's changed, I'd be willing to believe either way.
If I remember correctly, sharing analytics info etc. with apple is opt-in? If 1% of the users share the relevant data (or you've got money for annotating data in asia/africa, like tesla), this might enable you to solve most of your problems.
this does not mean that the quality of apples solutions is the same as googles, i just doubt it's the training data. Google is A LOT (not even comparable) more visible in the ML-community and i bet they have better and more researchers.
AI doesn't yet exist anywhere that I know of. Hiring an AI guy is symbolic move used to signal to investors that they're making moves in a certain space.
One of the big problems the field of AI has in terms of marketing itself is that is soon as a problem is understood and put in to use, people no longer see it as 'AI'. It's the god of the gaps, so to speak. But that does not render the actual advances not-AI. It is a perceptual problem, not a real impediment.
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.
One of the main things about GDPR though is getting companies to give a monkeys about the rationale for the data collection - even if they use the legitimate interests argument, part of it is that they now have to actively prepare for that, show the legitimate interest and rationalise it to regulators.
I guess the crux of the question is in ambiguous terms like "personal freedoms", etc. that the regulation says should be weighted against "Legitimate Interest" of whoever collects data.
However, I think this move benefits Google as well. Jeff Dean now leads AI, and unlike JG, Jeff has both the technical chops and the managerial expertise to boost Google's AI programs. No more having to approve every project by someone who doesn't understand the nuances and capabilities of modern AI. If Sundar gives creative freedom to Jeff, we might even have singularity by 2050. I am only half joking.
He worked most of his career as IC and never run project this large, so this statement is a stretch at best.
- sending text messages hands free
- controlling homekit stuff
- playing music requests (usually in the car)
I'm honestly not sure what else I'd use a voice assistant for and Siri works great for all of those tasks. Usually when I have an issue it's due to background noise, so hardly Siri's fault.
Quite frankly the "siri is crap" meme seems to be just that: a meme, with very little basis in reality. She's not quite as feature rich as the others but... who cares?
Jeff Dean takes over as Google’s AI chief (theverge.com) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16744353
This is a part of why Silicon Valley happened instead of Boston being the center of tech.
My hypothesis is that this move, if executed well, should help narrow the AI perception gap. I think customers know that Google will probably always be superior in AI, but if the gap on mobile is marginal, and combined with the added security that Apple is famous for building into their phones during a time when the Facebook scandal and other data breaches are causing users to be more sensitive to their data, could result in a very interesting market share shift over the next few years.
Homepod vs Google Home is a bit different though, since that's their only reason to exist.
It reminds me of how cars suddenly started to sprout an absurd number of cupholders at the beginning of the century, probably because they are an easy thing for reviewers to write about.
I don't know if this is correct. I'd say it was the price point that was the huge sell, not some "AI superiority"...
iPhone, Safari, Maps, Photos, App Store, iTunes Store, Apple Pay, Apple TV...
They may never have as much data as Google, but they have a lot.
The latest hotness in AI research is self-training, which helps extract more goodness from data. So with some cleverness they may be able mitigate their data disadvantage somewhat. Of course Google works on this area too.
We'll see Apple releasing more uses of their NPU for AI.
I don't understand the objection to describing the tensor cores of the Titan V as a TPU. As a GPU, it has only around 10TF. How would you describe the tensor cores?
Anyone know? I'm just wondering if Apple hired a fine executive, just maybe not the best person to run AI.
Extensively quoting The Verge on the subject:
And yet, Intel actually had a written document describing a non-poach agreement with Pixar, where Intel's policy was to not hire any Pixar employee without the Pixar CEO's express approval.
"If a Pixar employee applies to Intel without being recruited by Intel, contact Pat Gelsinger and explain to him a Pixar employee (provide the candidates name) has applied to Intel without being recruited and he will contact the CEO of Pixar for approval to hire," read the Intel document.
"Mr. Jobs wrote: "I would be very pleased if your recruiting department would stop doing this." Mr. Schmidt forwarded Mr. Jobs's email to undisclosed recipients, writing: "I believe we have a policy of no recruiting from Apple and this is a direct inbound request. Can you get this stopped and let me know why this is happening? I will need to send a response back to Apple quickly so please let me know as soon as you can."
Mr. Geshuri told Mr. Schmidt that the employee "who contacted this Apple employee should not have and will be terminated within the hour." Mr. Geshuri further wrote: "Please extend my apologies as appropriate to Steve Jobs. This was an isolated incident and we will be very careful to make sure this does not happen again."
Three days later, Shona Brown, Google's Senior Vice President for Business Operations, replied to Mr. Geshuri, writing: "Appropriate response, thank you. Please make a public example of this termination with the group."
The theory seems to be that all these companies work only because of their engineers. Management is just useless. They are just "people with suits, that memorize buzz words take credit for the work of others".
With all such incompetent people in high position, one has to wonder how these companies seem to survive for so long.
Maybe, just maybe, they are not so incompetent and raise to those positions because of merits. Maybe engineering skils are not the only needed ones.
It seems to me that this culture is just based on resentment for the people that are higher in a hierarchy. From this point of view, the only way to feel good is to disparage them and assume they are there only because of the "corruption of the system".
Their known contribution included setting up exec retreats were people are supposed to tell them about what needs to be done and then they go away with “blessing” the plan that got surfaced after their reports fought it out. Another of their contribution was to do meetings with other suits at customers/partners. Another was to do budgets and when things go red (or pressured to show profits), do hard decisions, aka, throwing 10% of team under the bus in form of layoffs. Their next contribution was to present works of their teams when it got done and credit it to their leadership and vision. I am talking about CVP+ levels, BTW.
It’s easy to identify these suits. Go to the leaf level employees in their group and ask them about actual contributions of their CVPs in their product that made a difference. If they cannot mention anything concrete other than blanket buzz words like “leadership”, “vision” etc (in case they cannot honestly answer) then you know you have a suit at the top.
These people are very different from Jobs, Musk, Zuke, Jenson Huang etc who are absolutely down and dirty at every level, knew more details then any individual employee and had real technical contributions in their product that made significant difference.
You judge the utility (or lack thereof) of these positions while never having had one yourself. Luckily, it's the top management of a company that choses who these are and not engineers.
It's clear from claims like "if 80% of those people disappeared you would see absolutely no change" that you have no idea what their role is.
When you say "most suits had no clue where source code existed" you just fail to realize that that's good. It's not their job to know this, it's an engineer's job.
You talk about their "known contribution" as if it's a general sentiment, but show no proof of it being other than your personal opinion.
In fact, it's clear from statements like " Another of their contribution was to do meetings with other suits at customers/partners" that you have no idea about how valuable talking to customers is for a company.
And tell me, in case you had to "make hard decisions" like "throwing 10% of team under the bus in form of layoffs" what would you do instead? That's exactly one of the cases where the skills of an engineer are the last a company needs.
Bad leaders can ruin great teams and great leaders can turn around weak teams. I've seen/done it myself. Without fail, when I switch out a weak manager for a better one, the team improves. When groups have no manager they might produce, but usually not well or as well as they could.
Management isn't around because some conspiracy made by managers to perpetuate themselves, but because it works. No effective group of people is truly leaderless.
The problem likely goes all the way to the board of directors who should hold the CEO accountable to build a culture that doesn't let bad managers exist in the org (by coaching or removing them).
A lot of companies have this problem, and it's a major dysfunction, but make no mistake, it's :bad: managers you have a problem with, not "pure" ones. I know a ton of great non-tech leaders who do amazing work of leading technical teams because they build the team around that. You get the lead engineer(s) to run the tech leadership while empowering them with autonomy / resources / support and holding them constantly accountable to well defined goals.
Management isn't rocket science, it's just a lot of hard work and discipline. It is its own craft and a very challenging and rewarding one if it suits you.
Layoffs are an effect of organizational dysfunction. In which case, the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of management. It’s just that there is a perverse incentive structure in most corporations, so 10% of the team gets laid off to continue to pay for the exorbitant bonuses and lifestyles of management.
BTW, knowing where your code is and how to build it is important. It tells you basic health about your engineering process. A good technical manager instinctively knows that anyone should be able to build a product or there is something very wrong. A suit will delegate and hope everything is workings out. If you managed sausage factory and if you had no clue where your factory was, that would be odd. Right?
About the “hard decisions”, suits needs to hold them accountable for those results. This could be done either by getting mega salary cuts or even just resigning for producing a massive failure. I have rarely seen suits getting affected when they had to make “hard decisions”.
Jobs isn't a great example to make because he wasn't an engineer either and he very much "took the credit for the work of others" (as you put it earlier).
However Jobs is a great example of the value of "suits" when you have an exec who is actually bloody good at what they do. I've worked with project managers and CEOs who have been excellent at their job. I've also worked with some who haven't. And some of those who didn't work out was more down wider company politics than their own ability to perform.
You see, you cannot make accusations that all execs are the same pedigree of worthless cannon fodder. In fact many of them are developers and engineers, like ourselves, who have risen through the ranks (either via successful startups like Musk or through the more traditional "hard grafting"). Some are project managers et al who have proven themselves. And yes, some are just useless - but you get good eggs and bad eggs in all industries.
"Steve didn't ever code," writes Wozniak. "He wasn't an engineer and he didn't do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs."
For a short to medium time, sure (and I think the better the exec is the longer his team will be able to work successfully without him). In my experience most successful execs build teams that build good products.
Remove the exec and the good team still builds good products, but it usually starts rotting (e.g., good technical people are frequently not good at handling people issues), then snaps as good people leave and what is left cannot build anything anymore.
Most good exec contributions are not visible at the technical level (there are some exceptions as you cite), but they still create an environment where smart engineers find it fun to work productively. It feels like some magic is involved in this -- I do not have this skill, but I have seen it in action a few times. Just my 2c.
This is a feature of a well run business, you want to be able to change your executive teams without negatively impacting on the rest of the business in the short term.
> These people are very different from Jobs, Musk, Zuke, Jenson Huang etc who are absolutely down and dirty at every level, knew more details then any individual employee and had real technical contributions in their product that made significant difference.
Sure in the early days of the product this is the case, but these are exceptional individuals who have transitioned into executive roles over time. They have spent the time since building up a management culture and organization capable of running a billion dollar company, which is not easy to do, and is more than a full time job.
I think you grossly misunderstand what executives do, both long term and day-to-day. At the end of the day a company is mostly just a group of people, with a set of assets. To grow and evolve beyond the current products you need to cultivate this group into a team that can consistently bring success.
To try another avenue to convince you: Presumably, Jobs(?), Musk, Page, and Brin were, once upon a time, technologists just like you. It's somewhat certain that at least some of them shared the mindset you're showing.
Considering they ended up hiring lots of managers, it stands to reason they changed their opinion at some point.
I tend to value the opinion of people who have shown the ability to change their mind over those that never have. Add the credentials these people bring, and I'm tempted to accept the idea that managers have something to add to the success of software companies.
All the prominent CEOs and execs who stand out are exceptions to this case. They foster strong team building and give complete freedom for the team to execute. They own up to their mistakes. Most of them are not control freaks, but they are detail oriented (Jobs). It's a joy to work with such managers.
You said "He isn’t in the field and no one I know who is in the field seem to know even his name" but the article I linked to seems to clearly indicate he is in the field - can you reconcile the two?
You also said "I have zero clue on what is his contribution to the field" but the linked article does seem to cover this. Is it wrong?
However I would argue hiring a 'suit' who was CTO for a reputable knowledge based AI company 8 years ago, and since been in a strategic position during Googles recent progress is more valuable to Apple at this time than a well published researcher.
Even religions have (human) leaders.
Perhaps there's AI work in his background that isn't evident just looking at his LinkedIn page.
Perhaps he doesn't have a long-term AI background but has come up to speed since getting AI put on his plate at Google. Or, at least come up to speed sufficiently to be able to distinguish between bullshit and non-bullshit.
There's an ongoing emergency at the YouTube campus
It's not clear to me how Siri gets as good at that kind of thing without the Google search index (and all the results quality work that has been Google's bread and butter for over a decade).
I always thought that siri was well behind on this
The Google cafeteria has gotten seriously high-tech: now they have an AI-powered chef cooking meals. It knows what you want to eat before you do! The AI Chef is so popular that Google is now selling AI Chef services to other corporate cafeterias.