Apple is famously secretive about, well, everything, but particularly about its work in artificial intelligence. Today, that changes as the tech giant has launched 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 the announcement last year that Apple would begin publishing its AI research.
There's already a post up on the Journal: Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images. Though this article has been published before, this tweaked version provides an in-depth yet accessible look at techniques used to take images generated by a simulator and make them appear more realistic.
The goal of this process 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? It's actually cheaper and easier to use synthetic images because there's no data labeling cost, according to Apple.
If you're eyes glaze over at this, you're not alone. But what's fascinating here is that Apple is lifting the veil on this work and giving it a dedicated home, providing not only outside machine learning experts but also the public a window into research it's doing behind the scenes.
This will likely lead to greater public awareness and understanding about AI and machine learning in general as well as what's happening in the fields at Apple. What's more, researchers stand to benefit from Apple sharing its knowledge and findings.
Apple is joining its tech company cohorts in publicizing AI research for general readership; Google and Facebook, for example, often blog about what they're doing on the machine learning front while Apple has stayed more tight-lipped.
Artificial intelligence is in many ways the next big battle ground in tech. Nearly every major consumer tech company has its own digital assistant, which get smarter over time as they learn more about you.
In addition to improving Siri, Apple is making other, even more ambitious moves in AI. CEO Tim Cook just last month talked about AI as it relates to self-driving cars, suggesting the company is keenly interested, and perhaps actively developing, tech to be the AI brains behind autonomous autos.
There's also reports AI will be a major feature of the iPhone 8, with the 10th anniversary iPhone housing a chip dedicated to artificial intelligence processing. This would no doubt put AI at the heart of the new iPhone.
Though it's only got two posts right now, the Apple Machine Learning Journal is a sign Apple is serious about AI and machine learning. Not only is it providing a dedicated home where this research can live for all to see, but it's also encouraging machine learning researchers, students, engineers and developers to reach out with questions and comments at 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 hoping ample AI talent will apply.