June 7, 2023

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Report: Apple’s AI and ‘Siri’ efforts hampered by caution and dysfunction

the Information reports:
Late last year, a trio of engineers who had just helped Apple modernize its search technology began working on the kind of technology behind ChatGPT… For Apple, there was only one problem: the engineers were no longer working there.

They left Apple last fall because they “believed Google was a better place to work on LLMs…according to two people familiar with their thinking…They are now working on Google’s efforts to reduce the cost of training and improve the accuracy of LLMs and products based on these models,” according to one of those people. “.

Mac rumors He summarizes the article this way. Siri and Apple’s use of artificial intelligence It was held back badly by caution and disorganizational imbalanceAccording to more than thirty former Apple employees who spoke to The Information’s Wayne Ma.

The comprehensive, paywalled report shows why former Apple employees who worked in the company’s AI and machine learning groups believed that a lack of ambition and organizational dysfunction held back “OESiri†and the company’s AI technologies. Apple’s virtual assistant appears to be “widely derided” within the company for its lack of functionality and minimal improvement over time. By 2018, the team working on âOESiriâOE appears to have “degenerated into a mess driven by petty fights between senior leaders and heated arguments over assistant mentoring.”

SiriâOE leadership did not want to invest in build tools to analyze âOESiriâOE usage and engineers lacked the ability to get key details such as how many people were using the virtual assistant and how often they were doing it. The data about “OESiriâOE coming from the data science and engineering team simply wasn’t put to use, with some former employees calling it a “waste of time and money…” Apple executives are said to have rejected proposals to give “OESiriâOE the ability to have extensive back-and-forth conversations, claiming that the feature would be difficult to control and surprising. Apple’s uncompromising stance on privacy has also created challenges to promote “OESiri†OE, as the company pushes for more virtual assistant functionality to be implemented on the device.

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Cook and other senior executives requested changes to âOESiriâOE to prevent embarrassing responses and the company would prefer “OESiriâOE†responses to be pre-written by a team of about 20 writers, rather than created by artificial intelligence. There have also been specific decisions to exclude information such as iPhone prices from âOESiriâOE to push users directly to Apple’s website instead. âOESiriâOE engineers are working on the feature that uses material from the web to answer conflicting questions with the design team about the accuracy of responses in 2019. The design team demanded a near-perfect accuracy rate before the feature could be released. The engineers claim to have spent months convincing the âOESiriâOE’s designers that not every one of its answers needed human verification, a limitation that made it impossible to scale the âOESiriâOE to answer the huge number of questions that users had asked.

Likewise, Apple’s design team repeatedly rejected a feature that enabled users to report a bug or problem with the content of an âOESiriâOE answer, preventing machine learning engineers from understanding the errors, because it wanted “OESiriâOE to appear “fully informed.”