Apple hires another ex-Google scientist to help lead its AI efforts

Apple continues to build up its artificial intelligence team.

What you need to know

  • Apple has hired AI scientist Samy Bengio.
  • Bengio will reportedly “lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea.”
  • The scientist was previously at Google for 14 years.

Apple is bringing on another former Google engineer to help run its artificial intelligence division.

As reported by Reuters, the company has announced that it has hired Samy Bengio, a scientist who formally worked at Google until leaving the company “amid turmoil in its artificial intelligence research department.” Bengio is joining John Giannandrea who also came from Google.

Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, two people familiar with the matter said. Giannandrea joined Apple in 2018 after spending about eight years at Google.

Bengio who left Google last week after about 14 years said last month he was pursuing “other exciting opportunities”.

His decision followed Google’s firings in recent months of fellow scientists Margaret Mitchell after alleging she transferred electronic files out of the company and Timnit Gebru after she threatened to quit rather than retract a paper.

Mitchell and Gebru had co-led a team researching ethics issues in AI, and had voiced concern about Google’s workplace diversity and approach to reviewing research. Bengio had expressed support for the pair. read more

As one of the early leaders of the Google Brain research team, Bengio advanced the “deep learning” algorithms that underpin today’s AI systems for analyzing images, speech and other data.

Both Apple and Bengio declined to comment on the report. Apple would not confirm the exact role that Bengio’s will play at the company.

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