SiriSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple has acquired another startup to help improve Siri.
  • Inductiv is a machine-learning startup based in Ontario.
  • It uses AI to automate identifying and correcting errors in data.

Apple has acquired an Ontario-based machine-learning startup in a bid to help improve Siri.

As reported by Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. bought machine-learning startup Inductiv Inc., adding to more than a dozen AI-related acquisitions by the technology giant in the past few years. The engineering team from Waterloo, Ontario-based Inductiv joined Apple in recent weeks to work on Siri, machine learning and data science. Apple confirmed the deal, saying it "buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Inductiv uses "artificial intelligence to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data." This cleaned up data can be used to help machine learning, the process by which Siri improve using data, rather than human intervention.

Inductiv was founded by machine-learning professors from Stanford, as well as the University of Waterloo and Wisconsin. One founder, Christopher Ré of Stanford, previously founded another company that was also acquired by Apple in 2017. Bloomberg notes that this is part of Apple's wider drive to improve its Siri experience, making the tech, and the AI behind it more powerful:

John Giannandrea, the Apple executive in charge of Siri and machine learning, has been upgrading the underlying technology that goes into the Siri digital assistant and other AI-powered products from the company.

Over the past few years, Apple has acquired a multitude of companies for various purposes, including AR/VR streaming company NextVR and the popular Android weather app Dark Sky.

Last week, a former Apple contractor wrote to the EU imploring it to investigate Apple's practice of outsourcing Siri listening to third-party contractors in court, saying he was concerned that big tech companies were "basically wiretapping entire populations."