Apple has created an “advanced” Siri development team on Amazon’s home turf in Seattle, according to two job listings on Apple’s website.
Apple’s Siri is a direct rival to Amazon’s Alexa and both companies are competing to hire artificial intelligence (AI) gurus that have the potential to make their personal assistants smarter and more human like.
Apple is currently recruiting a “software engineer” and a “speech scientist/engineer” to the “Siri Advanced Development” team in Seattle, Washington, according to the job postings.
The job description for both roles reads (emphasis ours):
“If hired, you will work with a team to ideate, rapidly prototype, and potentially ship next-generation user experiences for Siri. To succeed, you must be a strong problem solver with proven agility to work across multiple code bases, teams and organizations. You must enjoy creating elegant and compelling interfaces, applying innovative technology in the service of human-centered design.
“This position offers the right person a chance to play an important part in the next revolution in human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. You will contribute to a product that is redefining computing. You will be part of a team that’s creating groundbreaking technology for large scale systems, using spoken language and artificial intelligence. You will work with the people who created the intelligent assistant that helps millions of people get things done. You will be working in the Siri Advanced Development team, at Apple.
Apple established its first engineering team in Seattle in 2014 after it acquired Union Bay Networks and today Apple employs around 1,200 employees across Washington State, according to tech news site Geekwire.
Apple’s struggle to hire the best AI talent
Apple has struggled to compete with companies like Google and Facebook when it comes to making AI breakthroughs.
Yann LeCun, Facebook’s AI director, told Business Insider in an interview last November that Apple’s closed-off approach could hinder its ability to hire the best people in the field of AI. Following the interview with LeCun, Apple has started letting its employees publish some of their work.
The Californian tech giant has traditionally kept research breakthroughs to itself, seeing any developments as valuable intellectual property (IP), so this was a major change in direction.
Seattle is home to tens of thousands of Amazon employees and many of them are working in the field of artificial intelligence, which tech firms see as the next big thing in terms of technological breakthroughs.
It’s likely that majority of Apple’s AI research takes place at its headquarters in Cupertino but the iPhone maker also has a number of satellite AI outposts around the world, including a secret Siri lab in Cambridge, UK.
Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.