Apple Launches Public Machine Learning Journal

Today Apple introduced a new section on its website dedicated to highlighting its work in the area of machine learning. This new Machine Learning Journal bears the form of a blog, with the following stated aim:

Here, you can read posts written by Apple engineers about their work using machine learning technologies to help build innovative products for millions of people around the world.

The first and only post currently available in the journal is titled “Improving the Realism of Synthetic Images” and is categorized ‘Vol. 1, Issue 1.’ It details how Apple’s photo recognition technology has been trained using synthetic images rather than real ones due to the massive extra cost and workload required to obtain and accurately label real images. The example given in the post centers around the human eye, walking step by step through Apple’s method for increasing the realism of synthetic depictions of a human eye to make them effective alternatives to real images.

Apple has historically been secretive when it comes to its machine learning research, a stance which many speculated had put the company at a disadvantage in the area of recruiting talent. It’s understandably hard to build a noteworthy reputation as a machine learning researcher if you’re unable to talk about any of your work. But near the end of last year Apple’s director of AI research, Russ Salakhutdinov, signaled that change would be coming to the company’s policies surrounding secrecy. The launch of a public journal featured on Apple’s website is very clear evidence of that change arriving.

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