Apple is shoring up Siri for its next generation of intelligent devices

John Mannes, TechCrunch:

Siri is a critical component of Apple’s vision for the future, so integral that it was willing to spend $200 million to acquire Lattice Data over the weekend. The startup was working to transform the way businesses deal with paragraphs of text and other information that lives outside neatly structured databases.


Apple paid roughly $10 million for each of Lattice’s 20 engineers. This is generally considered to be fair market value. Google paid about $500 million for DeepMind back in 2014. At that time, the startup had roughly 75 employees, of which a portion were machine learning developers.

That math is fascinating. Machine learning seems a fantastic path for developers to explore.

Apple relies on a number of partnerships, including a major one with Yahoo, to provide Siri with the facts it needs to answer questions. It competes with Google, a company that possesses what is largely considered to be the crème de la crème of knowledge graphs. Apple surely has an interest in improving the size and quality of its knowledge graph while unshackling itself from partners.


When you use Siri to search iTunes, the results have to come from somewhere. A knowledge graph makes it possible to draw complex relationships between entries. Today, Siri on Apple TV allows for complex natural language search like “Find TV shows for kids” followed up by “Only comedies.” A surprising amount of information is required to return that request and some of it might be buried in the summaries of the shows or scattered on the internet.

Terrific read. I’ve done some work with neural nets, AI, and machine learning. If I was just starting out, this is definitely where I’d focus, dive deep.