Apple Acquires AI Startup Vilynx to Improve Siri

Apple earlier this year acquired artificial intelligence startup Vilynx with the aim of improving the Siri voice assistant built into Apple devices, reports Bloomberg.

The Vilynx website is now defunct, but the company described itself as “AI for media,” and it developed tools to help media companies compete against Netflix and other major media giants. Vilynx had a tool that catalogued raw video to make it searchable, providing metadata for video, text, and images. It processed video and then provided relevant content tags.

The service also generated rich, motion previews of content offerings, and provided search tools for surfacing content across videos, articles, and images. It also included an AI-powered recommendations platform while also offering tools to see trending topics on websites and social media.

Apple could potentially use the Vilynx technology to bolster ‌Siri‌ and other AI-based software on Apple devices, such as Photos. Apple paid about $50 million for the company, with the acquisition confirmed through Apple’s traditional statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Vilynx’s Barcelona office will continue to run under Apple, with Apple planning to turn it into a main AI research and development center in Europe. Approximately 50 Vilynx engineers and data scientists are remaining at Apple, and Apple is hiring additional engineers for the new office.

Apple has made several Siri-related purchases in recent years, acquiring Inductiv, Voysis, Xnor.ai, Turi, Tuplejump, and more.

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Juli Clover