Apple has been on a mission in acquisition, and it has recently sealed another deal by adding the scalable machine learning platform, Turi, under its belt. According to the reports from GeekWire, a tech news website based in Seattle, Apple will shell out a sum of $200 Million for the Seattle-based startup that offers tools that are meant to let developers easily scale machine learning applications. Turi’s services include GraphLab Create, Turi Distributed, and Turi Predictive Services. For now, the company is expected to remain in Seattle and operate from there.
GeekWire says that reports of the closing of this deal have come confirmed from several sources close to the developments, but Apple has refused to put forward a comment specifically about the details of the matter, simply saying: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purposes or plans.”
Whatever the officials of the Cupertino-based company say, the news of the deal comes at a time when tech biggies around the world are foraying steadily into the world of computer learning and artificial intelligence. Names like Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all party to endeavours of this kind, of which Apple was a near-pioneer with its Siri personal assistant. But whereas other companies have made futher moves into bots, Siri has had a rather slow development, perhaps owing to Apple’s unwavering commitment towards protecting the privacy of their users.
However at the 2016 WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference), the company had announced plans that would offer a way out of this dilemma by using a technique called “Differential Privacy” to protect individual user data even as it opens up Siri to developers and start collecting more user data. This would allow Apple to do as much machine learning as is possible locally on a device, but when it comes to combining user data to bring up suggestions, it will protect users’ individual data using differential privacy. The acquisition of a smart learning platform like Turi probably points at a step towards that direction by allowing Apple to make its apps and services much smarter.