Report: Apple Acquires AI Startup Turi


Apple has acquired Seattle-based machine learning startup Turi in its continued push into artificial intelligence, according to GeekWire.

Citing multiple unnamed sources with knowledge of the deal, GeekWire on Friday said the deal will set Apple back $200 million.

Formerly known as both GraphLab and Dato, Turi boasts a handful of toolkits, meant to "simplify development of machine learning models," according to the company's website. Its products—GraphLab Create, Turi Distributed, Turi Predictive Services—help customers better understand data, for use with recommendation engines, fraud detection, sentiment analysis, and more.

The Turi team is expected to remain in Seattle.

Neither company immediately responded to PCMag's request for comment. Cupertino did, however, share its usual acquisition statement with GeekWire: "Apple buys smaller companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purposes or plans."

Apple's Siri digital assistant already relies on artificial intelligence to interact with users. But future iterations could understand not only a speaker's words, but also their intent.

"We have focused our AI efforts on the features that best enhance the customer experience," Apple head Tim Cook said during a recent earnings call, according to Recode.

"Machine learning is improving facial and image recognition in photos, predicting word choice while typing in messages and mail, and providing context awareness in maps for better directions," he added. "Deep learning within our products even enables them to recognize usage patterns and improve their own battery life."

But Cupertino isn't the only one eyeing the robotic technology: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are all developing their own AI functions—from open-source bots and power-efficient systems to robot butlers and voice-enabled speakers.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence already powers computer games, medical studies, shopping, scientific breakthroughs, even beer brewing.

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