Apple recently acquired Lattice Data, a dark data mining company. Lattice Data takes “dark data,” meaning unstructured text and images, and turns it into structured information that can be used by traditional data analytics tools. Lattice Data began as a Stanford research project called DeepDive, which was also an attempt to process dark data on the internet.
An estimated 70-80 percent of data on the internet is unstructured, dark data. Artificial Intelligence can be used to structure this data, making it more useful. While Apple has not made it clear how it will use Lattice Data’s technology, we expect the company to leverage Lattice technology to improve Siri. For example, by accessing this dark data that is currently unusable, Siri could become much more effective in our daily lives. Siri would be able to answer our obscure questions about odd historic events, have a better understanding of which movie theater we are talking about, or even find the exact hot dish recipe that we are looking for. Eventually, much of the user-generated content on the web could be accessible to digital assistants.
Lattice Data falls right in line with Apple’s acquisition playbook: Buy companies that have a kernel of something special that Apple can put its significant resources behind to build into something even more amazing. They did it with P.A. Semi to build better processors for the iPhone. They did it with Siri to build Siri. They did it with Authentec to build Touch ID. They used Beats, both the executive team and the technology, to build Apple Music. In these instances, Apple took new technology and incorporated it into its platform soon after. It was clear that Apple was making an investment in a core technology. And with Lattice Data it’s clear that Apple is making an investment in AI.
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