Nand Kishor Contributor

Nand Kishor is the Product Manager of House of Bots. After finishing his studies in computer science, he ideated & re-launched Real Estate Business Intelligence Tool, where he created one of the leading Business Intelligence Tool for property price analysis in 2012. He also writes, research and sharing knowledge about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science, Big Data, Python Language etc... ...

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Nand Kishor is the Product Manager of House of Bots. After finishing his studies in computer science, he ideated & re-launched Real Estate Business Intelligence Tool, where he created one of the leading Business Intelligence Tool for property price analysis in 2012. He also writes, research and sharing knowledge about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science, Big Data, Python Language etc...

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Is Apple Secretly Working On AI Chips For The Next iPhone?

Jun 2, 2017 | 5745 Views

Creating artificial intelligence that marvels and excites people has never been an easy job, but it has always been one that Apple Inc. has been good at. The company's virtual assistant for smartphones, commonly known as Siri, was the first of its kind to bring artificial intelligence technology to smartphone assistants, positioning the company as one of the pioneering names in bringing artificial intelligence to personal computers.

But now, as machine learning gets more and more complicated and every task that requires the use of artificial intelligence grows more resource intensive than ever, the company has apparently come to realization that its inbuilt central processing unit is hardly powerful enough to perform these functions solo. The result, as reported by Bloomberg, is a new project, not yet formally announced, that is working on helping the company develop its own artificial intelligence chipset, developed specifically to perform data-intensive deep learning tasks and help take the load off a device's core processor.

It would be needless to say that the move comes unexpected of the tech giant, as similar initiatives by the likes of Google, Qualcomm and NVidia has made it more than inevitable for the company to proceed in this direction. As Mark Zuckerberg himself noted in his keynote address at this year's F8, the future of technology relies on three foundational pillars, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. And with that announcement, companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have been investing more and more resources to load up their devices with AI. Facebook is making creative use of its artificial intelligence technology to develop a more perfected augmented reality application, while Google has announced quite transparently that it'll now be rebranding itself as an AI-first company. Industrial pressure is a thing in Silicon Valley, and if Apple intends to keep up in this race for visualizing a futuristic world, it is paramount for the company to invest more in artificial intelligence technology.

The first known artificial intelligence chipset was built in 1992, when researcher Yann Lecun over at Bell Labs developed a processor that utilized the power of deep neural networks to process large amounts of data simultaneously. The technology was too radical for the time, and unfortunately never saw the light of day. It did, however, lay the groundwork for the modern race on building the most efficient deep learning processor, which was kicked off just last year when Google announced its first series of Tensor Processing Units, abbreviated as TPUs, which proved to be times more efficient in handling large amounts of data that allow the performing of complicated AI-based tasks. Companies like Qualcomm and NVidia followed suit, and soon enough, we had ourselves a full-fledged AI race at hand.

According to an anonymous source for Bloomberg Technology, researchers at Apple's Cupertino headquarters are currently working on a prototype AI chipset that is soon to be deployed in its flagship range of smartphones. The chip, assuming that it does come built-in with the next generation of iPhones and iPads, could take a huge load off the devices' main processor, allowing for improved battery life and faster deployment of machine learning applications. The chip would greatly improve on the iPhone's speech and image recognition capabilities, allowing for developers to make use of the more powerful device to build apps that are cooler and more high-end. The technology would also improve on the iPhone's augmented reality technology, allowing for more powerful applications to be developed and more complicated utilities executed.

Details have been hazy so far, and we are yet to have a confirmation on whether this exciting new range of chipsets will find application in Apple's next installation of smart devices. We do, however, know that the prototype technology is already being tested in the current generation of iPhones and iPads, and the company is trying to integrate the new chipset into the devices' everyday applications, such as by adding facial recognition capabilities to its Photos app and improving on Siri's voice recognition technology. The processor is also set to improve the device's battery life and performance by taking the load off the main processor on AI-related applications.

With Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference scheduled to take place in June, we can expect further details and an official announcement on the company's artificial intelligence projects in the upcoming event. While the idea of the company coming up with its own dedicated range of deep learning chipsets does indeed intrigue me, a healthy amount of skepticism is perhaps warranted at this point. Read More

Source: Forbes