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Apple acquires ‘dark data’ AI startup Lattice Data for $200m

Tyrone Stewart

Lattice DataApple has snapped up AI startup Lattice Data, a company that use machine learning to turn ‘dark’, unstructured data into structured data, for $200m (£155m).

Apple has picked up about 20 engineers from the startup – who joined the tech giant when the deal closed a few weeks ago.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch, which first reported the deal citing a source close to the situation.

Lattice uses machine learning to take unusable data, such as text and images, and turn it into data that can be used for traditional analysis. Between 70 and 80 per cent of data falls into this ‘unusable’, ‘unstructured, or ‘dark’ category.

The Menlo Park, California-based startup was founded in 2015, borne out of a Stanford research project called DeepDive – a system to extract value from ‘dark data’.

The reason made the acquisition is unclear but it is likely that it may have something to do with Siri, and Apple’s rumoured upcoming Siri-powered smart speaker. It is reported that Lattice had been in talks with other tech companies, including Amazon and Samsung, regarding their AI assistants.