How the culture of secrecy is hampering the development of artificial intelligence at Apple

Apple is a company that loves to keep secrets and this is nothing new for anyone who follows a little of the company's history. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons.

The good part for her is that, keeping products, software and everything secret, the company prevents the competition from knowing its plans beforehand. For users it is also interesting, as it ends up creating that sensation of novelty when something is released (although lately almost everything is leaking ahead of time). But, as I said, this has its downside. And one of them, as the Bloomberg, has to do with a very important area: artificial intelligence (IA).

Sharing information and sharing findings in this area is almost vital. Once a year, for example, the Neural Information Processing Systems conference takes place, where thousands of researchers from universities and companies (such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, Facebook, among others) meet to showcase their work and try to create new ways of adapting software according to people's habits. Some of them even officially present some works. J Apple

Even though the company attended the conference last year, Ma researchers and scientists are almost "invisible" until it is difficult to know that they work for Apple, according to Joshua Bengio (pioneer in the area and professor of Computer Science at Montreal University). Richard Zeme, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, said that "Apple has crossed any scale when it comes to secrecy", adding that "the company is completely out of the loop".

Think of the rumored "Apple Car". Have you ever seen an Apple employee on LinkedIn talking about working on an automotive project? No. This type of secret also affects the company's AI area. According to Graham Taylor (professor of Machine Learning at the University of Guelph), Ma researchers / scientists are instructed not to advertise their positions on social media, keep their office doors always closed (so that no one peeks at anything) and their projects within the company are unknown to their colleagues. In other words, apparently there is not even a dialogue, a collaboration in this specific area, which, as we have seen, is essential in the “new Apple”.

There is no way for them to just observe (the scenario), not be part of the community and take advantage of what is happening. I believe that if they don't change their attitude, they will be left behind.

Joshua Bengio.

Bengio goes further, saying that the great talents of the area do not want to hide inside a company and work without being able to share their achievements with the community. This secret obsession would also be hurting Apple to hire freshly-trained talent, according to Trevor Darrell (director of an artificial learning research center at the University of California), as the ability to continue publishing articles and maintain a presence in the community one of the most important factors in directing the career of these people.

It is very difficult to make science that way.

Sergey Levine (Google scientist / researcher), speaking of the Apple desktop.

For a company that has more than 40 open positions that mention AI and more than 120 mentioning machine learning, this doesn't seem like good news.

(via AppleInsider)