Apple hired Samy Bengio, a prominent AI researcher who previously worked at Google. According to a recent report, Bengio will lead “a new AI research unit” within Apple in Reuters. He’s just the latest in a string of prominent AI leaders and workers that Apple has hired from the search giant.
Bengio will work directly under John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy. Giannandrea himself used to lead AI at Google (he worked there for eight years) before jumping the ship to work at Apple in 2018. We interviewed him extensively last year about the growing role of machine learning in Apple’s software and services.
Apple uses machine learning to improve the quality of photos taken with iPhone, suggest suggestions for content and apps users might want to use, provide intelligent search capabilities for its various software offerings, and help rejection of palms for users who use write with the pencil accessories of the iPad, and much more.
Bengio was part of a roster of AI professionals who left Google in protest the layoffs of the company of in-house AI ethics researchers (Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru) after those researchers raised concerns about Google’s diversity and approach to ethical considerations in relation to new applications of AI and machine learning. Bengio spoke out for Mitchell and Gebru and he left voluntarily after they were released.
In his 14 years at Google, Bengio worked on AI applications such as speech and image analysis, among other things. Neither Bengio nor Apple have said exactly what he will explore in his new role in Cupertino.