Apple recruits Google specialists for artificial intelligence projects

It also acquired two AI startups and created a secret AI lab in Switzerland.

The US-based multinational Apple has been preparing for a breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI) and is currently hunting smart heads from rival companies, targeting in particular Google specialists.

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A Financial Times report says the iPhone manufacturer has been on a talent shopping spree over the past months, attempting to expand its team involved in AI projects. The hiring process takes place via the LinkedIn social media platform, online and print job postings, and research publications among others. 

So far, Apple has attracted at least 36 Googlers who will work under John Giannandrea, who leads the Apple’s AI and machine learning program since 2018.

Other major sources for headhunting are Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and Meta. 

While the majority of Apple’s AI team work from offices in California and Seattle, the tech giant has also created a significant outpost in Zurich, Switzerland. The existence of the European office – called “Vision Lab” – has not been publicized. The iPhone maker has also quietly acquired two local AI startups: virtual reality firm FaceShift and image recognition firm Fashwell, the FT learned from Professor Luc Van Gool at the Swiss university ETH Zurich.

The Zurich-based lab will boost Apple’s research into the technology that powers products such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard chatbots, developing more advanced AI models that incorporate text and visual inputs to produce responses to queries.

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Apple’s AI program is particularly focused on deploying generative AI software for its mobile devices, which can be customized according to users’ preferences and run on their own without depending on cloud services in data centers.

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