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Apple’s Secret AI Lab in Zurich: A Push for AI Supremacy

In the fierce competition among tech giants to establish a stronghold in the realm of artificial intelligence, Apple has joined the race. The tech behemoth, after hiring dozens of Google experts, has set up a clandestine laboratory in Zurich to focus more intently on AI ventures.

According to a Financial Times report, Apple has poached at least 36 specialists from Google since 2018, when John Giannandrea became the company’s AI chief, to work on building new AI models and products at the company’s secret lab in Europe.

Apple’s core AI team operates outside of California and Seattle; however, the company has not confined itself to its American offices and has established a new office in the Swiss city of Zurich.

The acquisition of local startups like FaceShift (in virtual reality) and Fashwell (in image recognition and computer vision) is believed to have played a significant role in Apple’s decision to establish the research lab dubbed Vision Lab in Zurich.

According to Chuck Wu, an AI expert and large language model who joined Apple in 2013, the company has been familiar with neural architecture for speech recognition since the early days of Siri, back when large language models were not yet a thing.

The team at Apple’s new lab boasts the expertise of prominent figures like John Giannandrea, former Google Brain project lead, and Roming Peng, former head of AI speech recognition research at Google, along with Sami Bengio, a prominent AI scientist.

Rumors suggest that iOS 18, slated for unveiling at WWDC 2024, will incorporate new AI capabilities for various aspects of the iPhone.

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