Apple acquired privacy-centric AI startup Silk Labs

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It's not clear how much Cupertino paid for the company when the deal was struck earlier this year.

The deal was most likely a modest one by Apple's standards, since Silk Labs only had about 12 employees and raised around $4 million in funding, The Information noted. The startup was founded in 2015 by Mozilla's former CTO, Andreas Gal.

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It is the latest in a number of AI-related strategic moves Apple has made this year as it attempts to become a leader in the technology, including purchasing AI and machine learning company Lattice Data and hiring Google's search and AI chief John Giannandrea. Both the companies are interested in using AI in a user privacy-centric approach. "Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency", Cook stated in an impassioned speech at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels in October. The Verge notes that it is an "intelligent camera and hub for your smart home". Silk's site says that its technology is useful for retail analytics, digital display metrics, home security, access control, parking lot monitoring, package monitoring, and building surveillance with technologies like objects and audio detection, people detection, and facial recognition.

As such, the acquisition closely matches Apple's feelings about the need to put AI/machine intelligence at the edge.

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As of now, there is no report or comment of its Silk Labs acquisition, but that is not out the norms for the company. Silk's website explains the product's underlying technology that ultimately attracted Apple: "the most performant on-device deep learning engine on the market". "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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