Apple has scored a big win, hiring Samy Bengio after he resigned from Google following the firing of Google’s AI ethics team leaders.
Google landed in hot water after the controversial firings of Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell. Google was accused of interfering with academic integrity and criticized for its treatment of women and Black employees.
In the wake of the incidents, some engineers departed the company, citing its handling of the entire situation. Sammy Bengio, however, was the most high-profile departure. As a 14-year veteran of the company, and one of the earliest involved in Google Brain, his departure was seen as a real blow to the company, according to Reuters.
Google’s loss is Apple gain, as the Cupertino company has hired Bengio. Reuters reports Bengio will be leading a new AI research unit under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy.
Despite being first to the market with its Siri virtual assistant, Apple has fallen behind Google and Amazon. It’s a safe bet Bengio’s new role will lead to significant, and much-needed, improvements for Siri. His work may also contribute to Apple’s other projects, including the AI component in the upcoming Apple Car.