Insider sources report that Apple has recently paid as much as $200 million to purchase a small, somewhat off-the-radar company named Lattice Data.
Why do we care though? Because Lattice Data specializes in artificial intelligence and data.
After raising about $20 million in funding from investors like GV, Madrona, and InQTel, the company was founded in 2015 by University of Michigan Professor Michael Cafarella, Raphael Hoffmann, Feng Nui, and Christopher Ré, a Stanford University professor who was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant for his work on a system called DeepDive that uses artificial intelligence to process “dark data.”
Dark data is to techies what dark matter is to physicists.
We know it’s there, but we don’t really understand it and we certainly don’t know how to use it. Dark data is data that is so unstructured as to be useless – uncategorized, out of context, and unattached to any identifiers. DeepDive was developed to use AI to sort this data to see if any useful information could be extracted.
From DeepDive, Lattice Data was born.
It appears that Lattice Data has already been working with tech companies, reaching out to Amazon to work with Alexa, and Samsung to improve Bixby. Now Apple has shelled out a pretty penny to incorporate Lattice Data’s technology and expertise. The deal was completed a few weeks ago, according to sources, and 20 new engineers have been hired.
Publicly, Apple has remained mum on the deal. A spokesperson told TechCrunch, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
It’s unclear precisely how Apple will utilize what Lattice Data has to offer. Are they attempting to up their game with it comes to AI in general? Or is Apple hoping to capitalize on potentially useful information pulled from dark data?