Get smart about Apple’s machine learning research
The iPhone maker lifts the veil on its progress in artificial intelligence
Apple placed a lot of emphasis on its machine learning developments during WWDC in June, even during the publicly broadcast keynote. Now, ahead of the launch of its next-generation operating systems, which will enable developers to more easily use machine learning in their apps, it has followed up with a website dedicated to publicizing its machine learning research.
The Apple Machine Learning Journal is a platform where Apple engineers will post about “their work using machine learning technologies to help build innovative products for millions of people around the world.” This follows last year’s announcement that Apple would begin publishing its artificial intelligence (AI) research.
At the time of writing there’s one post on the journal, “Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images”. Though published elsewhere before, this tweaked version provides an in-depth yet accessible look at techniques used to take images generated by a simulator and make them look more realistic.
The goal of this is to improve training for machine learning systems based on images that, while made by an artificial system, look more like the real thing.
Why not use real photos to begin with? Apple says it’s actually cheaper and easier to use synthetic images because there’s no data labeling cost.
Researchers stand to benefit from this sharing of knowledge and findings. Hopefully the journal will also lead to greater public awareness and understanding of machine learning and AI, as well as what Apple’s doing with them.
Apple is joining other tech giants in publicizing AI research for general readership; Google and Facebook, for example, often blog about what they’re doing with machine learning. Artificial intelligence is in many ways the next big battle ground in tech. Nearly every major consumer tech company has its own digital assistant that gets smarter over time as it learns more about you.
There are also reports AI will be a major feature of the iPhone 8, with the 10th anniversary iPhone including a chip dedicated to it.
Meanwhile, Apple’s journal underscores the emphasis on this subject that was evident at WWDC. Not only is it providing a dedicated home for all to see this research, it’s also encouraging machine learning researchers, students, engineers, and developers to reach out with questions and comments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plus, Apple is putting its money where its mouth is: At the bottom of the page is a prominent link to Jobs at Apple, no doubt in the hope that ample AI talent will apply.
The first post on Apple’s machine learning blog.