Maybe Apple isn’t that far behind in AI after all

Tim Cook anticipating this win back in 2012.
Tim Cook anticipating this win back in 2012.
Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
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Usually, a company’s research department winning a top conference prize isn’t that noteworthy. Unless the company is Apple.

The notoriously secretive tech company published its first research paper on artificial intelligence in December 2016, giving a rare peek at what its lab is up to. (Quartz reported earlier on Apple’s AI pursuits.) Then in July, that paper snagged one of two best paper wins at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference, one of the most influential conferences on AI held each year. The other winner was Facebook’s AI research lab

While it’s clear Apple has been working on machine learning for years, it’s notable that the company’s first paper on the subject took a top conference prize.

The research itself, which Quartz wrote more about in December, focuses on generating high-quality data as fodder to train future AI, so Apple doesn’t have to use pictures from its customers’ phones.

The Apple paper won against 783 others accepted at the conference.