Apple hires former Googler Samy Bengio to head AI research unit

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According to a Reuters report, Samy Bengio, a former employee working in Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) research department, has now joined Apple to head a new AI research unit with John Giannandrea. The report was sourced by two individuals who are familiar with the matter.

Bengio had been working at Google for 14 years but decided to up and leave last week explaining that he was pursuing other opportunities. His resignation came after Google fired Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru who led a team of researchers looking into the ethics of AI. Gebru was fired after Google tried to suppress a paper into AI bias that she was involved in and Mitchell was fired for moving files outside the company. Before resigning, Bengio had thrown his support behind Gebru and Mitchell.

As is usual for news coming from anonymous sources, Apple has refused to talk publicly about Bengio’s role at the company but if it all turns out to be correct this should be acknowledged soon enough.

Bengio’s partner in the new role, John Giannandrea, is senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy at Apple. He has been working for the iPhone maker since 2018 following an eight-year stint at Google. It’s unclear what projects Bengio and Giannandrea will be working on but Apple has plenty of AI projects on the go and will no doubt be looking to introduce new products and services that leverage AI in the future.

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