Apple Inc. is now into dark data. The company has just paid $200 million for Lattice Data Inc., a startup that utilises AI to extract what is popularly referred to as ‘dark data’ — a type of data which is collected but not often used for general purposes. Although it avoided officially confirming the news, Apple issued a statement saying that: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Lattice Data came into being as a side product of a Stanford University research programme known as DeepDive. DeepDive creates a framework for statistical inference, a method and practice of arriving at judgements about data parameters and the trustworthiness of statistical correlations.
The firm’s computer programs use machine learning technology and artificial intelligence to extract dark data and give it a structure which allows conventional IT technology tools to study them. The technology behind Lattice Data’s work is reportedly comparable to Google’s Knowledge Graph insofar as it can comprehend relationships among places, individuals and things. It is possible that Apple might use this technology to improve its popular Siri AI assistant by enhancing the app’s data analyses capabilities. Theoretically, it could allow Siri to mine databases and the internet to enable it to provide better answers to questions.
In August, Apple also bought Turi Inc., a machine learning programme that provides big data analytics to users. Before that it acquired Emotient and Perceptio.
A motivation for its latest acquisition might have been that many people still consider Apple lagging behind Facebook, Microsoft and Google in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Just before the takeover, Lattice Data reportedly raised nearly $20 million in funding from InQTel, Madrona and GV. Combined with the $200 million from Apple, this must have been a very good day for the firm’s founders and investors.