As Apple’s artificial language and machine learning initiatives continue to expand, its interest in attracting talent has grown — a theme that’s barely under the surface of the company’s occasionally updated Machine Learning Research blog. Now Apple is openly seeking to recruit U.S. and European candidates with niche expertise for a yearlong AI/ML residency program, promising immersion and mentoring that will advance their careers.
The goal is apparently to find people whose interests aren’t necessarily AI/ML specific, then give them the knowledge and tools to apply machine learning and deep learning to their disciplines — a process that will widen Apple’s ability to solve users’ problems in those disciplines. Apple says its ideal candidates would come from fields such as cognitive science, psychology, physics, robotics, public health, or computer graphics, but in any case should have programming proficiency and either a graduate degree or equivalent industry experience.
Residencies are currently being offered in Cupertino, California; Seattle, Washington; Cambridge, U.K.; Zurich, and “various locations within Germany” for a summer 2021 start date, with assignment descriptions that vary between locations. In Cambridge, candidates are explicitly offered the chance to work on Apple’s personal assistant Siri, while people located in other cities will apparently have opportunities in other AI/ML fields. Each residency will kick off with machine and deep learning coursework before moving into machine learning projects, potentially with the subsequent opportunity to present the work at an academic conference.
Like several of its tech giant peers, Apple has invested significantly in improving the performance of its software and services using AI and ML. While Microsoft has largely wound down consumer access to the digital personal assistant Cortana, Apple has continued to augment its rival service Siri and conspicuously added ML features to its iPhone cameras, the Apple Watch, and iOS and Mac photo software. Some of the features, including the iPhone camera detail-enhancing Deep Fusion, have received widespread praise, while Siri and others have continued to be problematic.
Apple is far from the only technology company with an AI residency program, but has lagged behind rivals such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Nvidia in offering one. Facebook canceled its 2020-2021 AI residency program in May, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic while noting the experience wouldn’t be successful in a remote format.