Apple is assembly a visible step in the direction of AI today. It’s just hired Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Ruslan Salakhutdinov for what appears to be a newly minted position: director of AI research.
Salakhutdinov has been working on some attractive powerful Artificial Intelligence research. He works in the fields of deep learning and neural networks; where computers learn from a large pool of examples. He’s published dozens of papers in the last couple of years alone. Carnegie Mellon is at the forefront of this field of research, but Salakhutdinov’s research takes it a step farther. He is trying to figure out how to get AI to learn from raw data.
He also connected to open position at Apple during which people might apply to join his team, while the description is predictable indistinct:
We are looking for exceptional hands-on research scientists with a proven track record in a variety of machine learning methods; from the realms of deep learning, reinforcement learning, 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.
Just today, Tim Cook told the Nikkei that the company launching a new research lab in Yokohama partly dedicated to researching AI. He also explained AI as “horizontal in nature, running across all products,” saying it was used “In ways most people don’t even think about.”
He’s published at least 42 papers on machine learning since 2009.
This is called “unsupervised learning.” Normally, learning algorithms are fed explained data; their learning is at least partially supervised, The holy grail is going to be tricky to finish, but Salakhutdinov has the chops.
These moves may look like to some like playing catch-up with battle Google and Microsoft, which have been contributing serious resources to basic AI research for years. Apple name was noticeably absent from a currently set up “Partnership on AI”, and Google is in is in the middle of a full-court press as it looks to integrate its Assistant platform into as many products as possible.
According to a Tweet from Salakhutdinov, he’s going to be retaining his position at Carnegie Mellon. He also posted an Apple job listing seeking research scientists for his new department.