Apple’s new head of AI takes on oversight of Siri

Apple Inc.’s new head of artificial intelligence will also oversee the Siri digital assistant, taking on that responsibility from software executive Craig Federighi, according to the company’s website.

Apple listed John Giannandrea on the site as its first Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. He’s in charge of AI and machine learning, a potent type of AI software, across the whole company. He’s also responsible for Core ML, an Apple tool that helps developers integrate machine learning features into their apps, along with “Siri technologies,” Apple said on Giannandrea’s new online biography.

Apple also updated the biography of Federighi, who runs iPhone and Mac software, to indicate he’s no longer in charge of Siri. Apple shifted responsibility of Siri from Eddy Cue, a senior vice president in charge of most services and original content, to Federighi just last year.

Prior to Apple, Giannandrea was a top AI executive at Alphabet Inc.’s Google. He joins Apple after several years of complaints about the reliability of the Siri voice service, which has become an increasingly important product for Apple given rival offerings like Inc.’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. Voice technology is also key to modern smartphone apps and new initiatives like smartwatches, augmented reality glasses, self-driving cars, and maps.

Giannandrea reports to Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who announced the hire to employees in an email in April.

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Apple’s new head of AI takes on oversight of Siri