Apple has hired former Google distinguished scientist Samy Bengio, according to a new report from Reuters. Bengio led Google’s artificial intelligence ethics group up until last month, when he departed amid a broader shakeup on the team.
Today’s report says Bengio will lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea:
Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, two people familiar with the matter said. Giannandrea joined Apple in 2018 after spending about eight years at Google.
The backstory to Bengio’s departure from Google was detailed in a report from Bloomberg last month. Bengio managed “hundreds of researchers” in the Google Brain team, but his role was reduced following a reorganization of the research unit.
Ousted Ethical AI co-leads Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell had reported to Bengio and considered him an ally. In February, Google reorganized the research unit, placing the remaining Ethical AI group members under Marian Croak, cutting Bengio’s responsibilities.
In November, Bengio’s then-manager Megan Kacholia met with Gebru to demand she retract a paper co-written with Mitchell and other Google researchers that criticized an AI technology powering some of Google’s search results. In early December, Google dismissed Gebru in what she termed a firing and Google has called an acceptance of her resignation. In February, the company fired Mitchell.
At Apple, Giannandrea serves as the senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy. He reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. A report last year also indicated that Apple had shifted the leadership of its self-driving car project to Giannandrea.
Giannandrea himself also joined Apple after more than 15 years at Google. At Google, he had served as the company’s chief of search and artificial intelligence and led the push to bring artificial intelligence to the company’s entire suite of products.
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