In context: Siri was once a novel feature of iOS, but then along came Google Assistant and Alexa to steal the show. Apple has not been able to keep pace with its digital assistant competitors, but is now poaching talent to fix some of its weak points in machine learning and AI.
Apple may have perfected the strategy of luring users into an ecosystem and then making it too difficult to leave, but AI and machine learning are areas where the company lags behind competition. Former Google senior vice president John Giannandrea has been brought in by Apple to improve Core ML and Siri.
Holding the title of senior vice president of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Giannandrea will work to more seamlessly integrate the technologies he oversees into Apple products. The intention is to strive towards more natural interactions with AI instead of being left with the feeling of working with a robot.
Core ML is Apple's framework that allows developers to make use of trained machine learning models within apps. Designed for on-device computation and low power consumption, the framework provides ease of implementation image analysis, natural language processing, and decision trees.
Now that Apple has a new face with plenty of experience, maybe Siri will be less likely to tell you "here's what I found on the web for that," instead the answer you actually wanted. Google Assistant still completely blows Siri out of the water any time you need to do something that is not directly controlling a native iOS app.
Tim Cook made the following statement with regard to hiring John Giannandrea. "Machine learning and AI are important to Apple’s future as they are fundamentally changing the way people interact with technology, and already helping our customers live better lives. We’re fortunate to have John, a leader in the AI industry, driving our efforts in this critical area."