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The apparent disarray inside the Apple teams working on Siri and artificial intelligence is the subject of a new exposé from The Information published today. According to the report, Apple’s attempts to enhance Siri and the technology behind it have been hampered by “organizational dysfunction and a lack of ambition.”
Because of this dysfunction, Apple has been lagging behind rivals like OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google, which has caused some employees to worry about the company’s future.
The research released today is the result of “interviews with more than three dozen former Apple employees who worked in its AI and machine learning groups.” The article comes in the wake of a related one published by The New York Times earlier this month that described how Siri is based on a “clunky” database, which causes it to take “weeks” for Siri to be updated with “basic features.”
Employee retention is one of the main issues the Siri team, lead by former Google executive John Giannandrea, is confronting. The Information claims that Google hired Srinivasan Venkatachary, Steven Baker, and Anand Shukla, three of Apple’s Siri programmers. When Apple acquired their firm Laserlike in 2019, these workers first started working there.
These three engineers were developing Siri’s search capabilities when they were persuaded to switch to Google because they thought the business would be a better environment to work on large language models, or LLMs. Platforms like Google Bard and ChatGPT are made possible by this technology.
According to a report released today, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, personally courted the trio because the company wanted them so badly. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, also “tried to persuade them to stay,” but eventually failed.
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This story claims that “Siri remains widely derided” by people within Apple. The Apple Reality Pro headset development team reportedly contemplated “building alternative methods” for voice-activated headset control at one point after growing impatient with Siri.
The fact that “top executives” at Apple are scared about Siri making significant errors in its responses is one of the obstacles Siri faces. This can result in humiliating headlines and general negative news for a platform, as we have seen in the case of ChatGPT.