Industry and Academy Join Forces: Apple Publishes First Paper on AI

10:59 am
0 Rob Ashley
Apple has allowed its employees to publish an academic paper on artificial intelligence, going against the basic instincts of the corporate world

Becoming a researcher for a company like Apple is a dream job for many. But, how can one decide where to go once they’ve made it? Well, if you’re an Apple employee, one answer can be the academic world. Last month, Apple announced that its employees are now allowed to publish papers in the field of artificial intelligence, and share their findings with scientists all over the world. The first paper, titled “Learning from Simulated and Unsupervised Images through Adversarial Training,” was recently released, and Apple has promised there’ll be more to come.


The paper itself deals with computer vision. Specifically, it describes a technique that can improve the training of an algorithm’s ability to recognize images using computer-generated images rather than real-world images. The paper describes how AI can learn to analyze pictures and recognize their content by learning from images generated by a computer, rather than real pictures taken by camera. This is an important tool for machine learning, since computer-generated images can be labeled automatically, whereas camera photos are often without a label.

Implications of the research done in the paper, important as they may be, are nothing compared to the fact that the paper has actually been published to the public to begin with. Apple’s choice to allow its employees to publish papers on the research done in its labs is groundbreaking. In a world of trade secrets and patents, sharing information about one’s latest technology is almost never done voluntarily. The academic world, on the other hand, depends on sharing information between researchers. Corporations often invest money in institutes of higher education, but this might be the first time a corporation has donated knowledge of its own.

Tim Cook

Computer science, and AI in particular, saw huge leaps in the last few years, and sharing information between researchers can only speed up this process. In sharing some of its discoveries, Apple has opened the gates for new information to flow and allow scientists to expand and improve their findings. This one paper may be a catalyst for even greater leaps in technology in the years to come.


On April 1st, 1976, Apple Inc. was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Today, the global tech giant designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, online services, and personal computers. Apple is best known for the iPod, iPhone, and Mac computers.  Its online services include the iCloud, iTunes Store, and App Store.