Apple has bought two artificial intelligence companies in four days

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Apple’s on a buying spree as it ramps up its efforts in the tech industry’s latest arms race: artificial intelligence.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has bought Perceptio, a company that makes image recognition technology for smartphones, its second AI deal in four days.

Perceptio was developing “deep learning” technology for smartphones, that allowed phones to independently identify images without relying on external data libraries, Bloomberg said.

Deep learning is a specialised field of artificial intelligence that’s all the rage right now. It allows machines to recognise patterns and to learn on their own.

Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly vital as companies roll out and seek to improve “virtual assistant” services such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now.

On Friday, Apple acquired another AI company — VocalIQ, a UK-based startup developing technology to help computers understand human speech. Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all engaged in an AI arms race, hiring experts in the field from academia and acquiring specialised startups.

We’ve reached out to Apple and will update if we hear back.

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