As CEO Tim Cook has made it abundantly clear, privacy continues to remain a top priority for Apple. VentureBeat notes that cloud servers typically handle most AI processing, which allows companies such as Google and Amazon to view user request data.
The outlet reports that Apple has quietly acquired AI software Silk Labs to explore local AI functionality for its devices, citing an earlier report from The Information.
After first gaining traction in 2016 for an ultimately canceled crowdfunding campaign for a home monitoring camera called Sense, Silk Labs stayed on Apple’s radar for the technology underlying this project: “the most performant on-device deep learning engine on the market.”
VentureBeat explains that this lightweight AI software can detect people, faces, objects and audio on-device, eliminating cloud server-based processing from the picture. A particularly important component of Silk Labs’ technology is that it is designed for mobile and embedded chipsets, making it iOS device friendly.
According to Silk Labs, their team’s deep learning algorithms could “isolate important visual and sonic details from common video streams and could send only those key elements to the cloud in anonymized form.”
According to Silk Labs, their team’s deep learning algorithms could “isolate important visual and sonic details from common video streams and could send only those key elements to the cloud in anonymized form.” The result is a solution that is less taxing on a camera’s bandwidth demands and storage needs for personal information.
What also likely resonated with Apple was Silk Labs’ public stance on privacy and security.
The acquisition reportedly took place earlier in the year and probably at a modest sum considering the company’s size (nearly a dozen employees) and funding (a previous $4M round).