Tech giant Apple Inc has acquired Inductiv Incorporated, a machine-learning startup based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The move is part of Apple’s strategy to improve Siri, its proprietary voice assistant.
Apple’s acquisition of Inductiv Incorporated comes after Apple purchased more than one dozen artificial intelligence companies during the past several years, including low-power AI tool firm Xnor.ai and natural language technology company Voysis.
Inductiv’s main technology makes use of AI to automatically identify and correct data errors. When clean data is available, machine learning tends to be vastly more efficient and requires less interaction by humans.
When questioned about the deal, an Apple spokesman noted that the company “buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Inductiv’s engineering team is believed to be working on machine learning, data science and Siri, which debuted in 2011 on the iPhone 4S. The voice assistant is now available on a wide range of iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac models, as well as the HomePod and AirPods.
Despite getting a head start on Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, Siri has fallen behind its competitors in recent years, especially when it comes to general knowledge and integration with third-party services.
Inductiv was cofounded by University of Waterloo professor Ihab Ilyas, Stanford University associate professor Christopher Re, and University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor Theodoros Rekatsinas.
Further reporting suggests the company is working alongside John Giannandrea, the Apple executive tasked with executing the firm AI and machine learning strategies. Giannandrea’s apparent goals are to upgrade the artificial intelligence technologies that make Siri and Core machine learning possible, as well as adding AI to Apple’s full product line.
More information about Siri can be found at https://www.apple.com/siri/.