Apple quietly acquires AI start-up that emphasizes on user's privacy

Judy Cobb
November 23, 2018

According to the Verge, Apple's acquisition of the company can be contributed mainly to the brand's privacy-focused approach towards AI. In terms of the price, the report reveals that the deal was "likely to be a small one for Apple" due to the fact that Silk Labs only employed as of now around half a dozen employees. At Mozilla, the three founders - Chris Jones, Michael Vines, and Andreas Gal, which worked on the Firefox OS, the company attempted to compete with the Android and IOS. Silk's website notes that the company looks to "bring future-generation visual and audio intelligence to consumer hardware". It's not entirely clear what Apple plans to do with Silk Labs, though like everyone else, the company is invested in machine learning and AI technologies.

Both Apple and Silk Labs expressed their proposal to use AI in ways that protect user privacy. "Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency", Cook stated in an impassioned speech at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels in October. The startup's technology is capable of detecting people, objects, faces, and audio signals.

According to a report in The Registrar, the quietly-done acquisition for an undisclosed sum is aimed at strengthening Apple's AI capabilities towards smart home devices.

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Silk Labs was perhaps best known for a 2016 crowdfunded home monitoring camera called Sense, but it wound up canceling the project a few months later and refunding backers.

The startup, Silk Labs, still maintains its website and there has been no official announcement of the acquisition. Giannandrea runs Apple's "machine learning and A.I. strategy". "With every line of code we write, and in every design decision we make, Silk takes great measures to ensure that user data on the Silk Intelligence Platform is fully protected at all times".

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