The conventional wisdom is that Apple is a laggard in the race to infuse consumer technology with artificial intelligence. That’s a charge that nobody would ever make against Google. And so the news that Apple has hired Google search and AI chief John Giannandrea to head its AI efforts henceforth could not be more dramatic.
Google’s AI bench is deep, so the loss of Giannandrea, while significant, is probably not devastating. But he’s one of the leading experts in his field–and the dramatic progress that Google has made in adding more intelligence to search and other products is proof that he knows how to get stuff done. If he can apply that knowledge to Siri and other Apple offerings, his new employer could make a lot of progress in a reasonable amount of time.
At last year’s Google IO conference, I chatted with Giannandrea about the future of AI. I’m still getting my head around the fact that he’ll be pursuing it at Apple rather than at Google.