Apple is looking to increase the size of its Siri team in Cambridge, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
In a bid to make Siri that bit more useful to iPhone, iPad and Mac owners, Apple intends to hire at least half a dozen software engineers in Cambridge in the coming months.
Job adverts currently on LinkedIn indicate that Apple is looking to hire for the following roles in Cambridge:
- Siri Operations Engineer
- Senior Software Engineering Manager – Siri
- Software Engineer in Test
- Software Engineer/Senior Software Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer – Team Lead – Siri
- Siri – Principal Software Engineer
The multinational has an unmarked office near Cambridge train station that’s currently home to a team of roughly 30 people working on voice recognition technology. However, the office can accommodate significantly more staff, according to a source.
The job description for the Principal Software Engineer role gives a bit more insight into what Apple does in Cambridge.
“Want to work on the cutting edge of software engineering, machine learning and big data?” it reads. “Join Apple’s Siri team in Cambridge, UK, and be part of revolutionising human-machine interaction!”
It continues: “You will be joining a highly talented team of software engineers and machine learning scientists to develop the next generation of Siri. We use world class tools and software engineering practices, and push the boundaries of artificial intelligence with a single aim: make a real difference to the lives of the hundreds of millions of Siri users.”
At the time of writing, some 218 people had applied for the Software Engineer/Senior Software Engineer role, according to LinkedIn.
Some of the roles are flexible, with Apple letting people work from home for part of the week. The job ad for the Siri Operations Engineer role reads: “Note — the role can be based remotely but the successful candidate will be required to work from the Cambridge office at least 3 days a week.”
Apple’s Cambridge office is home to many of the employees from VocalIQ — a voice recognition startup that was spun out from the university and acquired by Apple in 2015 for up to $100 million (£80 million).
VocalIQ’s software — designed to help computers and people speak to each other in a more natural dialogue — hasn’t found its way into Siri yet, according to an artificial intelligence (AI) expert that Business Insider spoke to earlier this year with knowledge of voice recognition platforms. “I think it’s extremely unlikely that [VocalIQ] is in Siri now,” the source said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. But obviously Apple have got it for a reason.”
Apple is competing with companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google when it comes to creating AI-powered personal assistants. Despite a number of impressive hires, including Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Russ Salakhutdinov, one of the world’s leading talents in AI, Apple has been falling behind in the global AI race, according to several reports, including this one from Bloomberg.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.