ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

Apple Quietly Acquires Privacy-Conscious AI Start-Up Silk Labs

23 November 2018, 06:28 | Jodi Jackson

Apple secretly buys AI start-up Silk Labs

Latest Apple acquisition suggests Siri and HomePod are still major development priorities

The startup was founded by three former Mozilla employees - Andreas Gal, Chris Jones and Michael Vines - who worked on the failed Firefox OS, which was supposed to be Mozilla's answer to iOS and Android.

Apple reportedly completed the quiet acquisition of an AI startup which specialises in making software lightweight enough to fit onto consumer hardware. The artificial intelligence startup had about a dozen employees at the time of the purchase, while startup financing firm PitchBook estimates the company raised almost $4 million in funding. It raised $2.5 million Dollars in funding in 2016 from Sparkland Capital, Qihoo 360 Technology and a group of private investors.

Silk Labs specializes in developing on-device AI software, meaning it doesn't have to communicate with the cloud, where companies potentially would have access to huge amounts of personal data.

APPLE HAS CONTINUED its AI-focused spending spree with the acquisition of Silk Labs, a privacy-centric AI startup. According to its site, its aim is to "bring next-generation visual and audio intelligence to connected products" with "state-of-the-art image and audio recognition".

Apple has acquired another artificial intelligence business, a new report by The Verge claims.

Silk Labs released a smart camera back in 2016 which was designed for home monitoring.

The startup, Silk Labs, still maintains its website and there has been no official announcement of the acquisition.

Earlier this year, Apple also hired John Giannandrea, Google's search and AI chief, to aid its own AI efforts. Somewhat surprisingly, the San Mateo, California-based machine learning outfit decided against building a very interesting device called Sense after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

"Privacy and security is built into our company's DNA", reads the Silk website. "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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