Google’s artificial intelligence expert Ian Goodfellow has joined Apple’s Special Projects Group as a director of machine learning.
CNBC first reported the news yesterday:
Goodfellow updated his LinkedIn profile on Thursday to acknowledge that he moved from Google to Apple in March. He said he’s a director of machine learning in Special Projects Group. In addition to developing AI for features like Face ID and Siri, Apple’s also been working on autonomous driving technology. Recently the autonomous group had a round of layoffs.
A Google spokesperson confirmed his departure. Goodfellow is the father of an approach in artificial intelligence systems that’s known as generative adversarial networks, or GANs.
The approach draws on two networks, one known as a generative network and the other known as a discriminative network, and can be used to come up with unusual and creative outputs in the form of audio, video and text.
GAN systems have been used in the past to generate “deepfake” media content, like fake digital images that are indistinguishable from real images. I’m just speculating here, but Apple News uses algorithms and human curation to weed out fake content so perhaps that’s where Goodfellow’s expertise will come into play.
Prior to joining Google, Goodfellow was an Open AI research scientist where he was paid a cool $800,000 in annual salary. His research is widely cited in academic literature.
This is Apple’s second major hire in the AI field in less than a year. Last year, the company poached John Giannandrea, one of Google’s top machine learning experts who headed the search giant’s world-class artificial intelligence and search teams.
Giannandrea, who now supervises the iPhone maker’s AI strategy, got a promotion last December to the company’s Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.
If Apple continues to poach top experts like this guy, who was one of Google’s top minds in artificial intelligence, maybe the company stands a chance of fixing Siri after all.