Apple Announces Closure of 121-Person San Diego AI Team in Reorganization
Apple Inc. has made the decision to close down a team of 121 individuals working on artificial intelligence operations in San Diego. This move puts many employees at risk of losing their jobs, as sources familiar with the matter have revealed.
According to anonymous sources, the members of Data Operations Annotations have been informed that they will be moving to Austin to join forces with the Texas division of their team. The plans have not yet been officially announced. According to sources, Apple has reportedly informed its employees that they must make a decision regarding relocation by the end of February. If the workers fail to do so, they will face termination on April 26.
An international group, with offices in China, India, Ireland, and Spain, is tasked with enhancing Siri. Their role involves carefully listening to user queries and assessing the accuracy of the voice service’s responses. According to sources, Christine DeFilippo, a high-ranking deputy to Apple AI chief John Giannandrea, made the announcement regarding the closure of the San Diego group.
An Apple spokesperson has confirmed the decision to relocate their “Data Operations Annotations teams” in the US to their campus in Austin. The move is aimed at bringing the majority of the team together in one location. In a recent statement, she mentioned that all current employees will have the chance to maintain their positions with Apple in Austin.
In a recent statement, the company expressed its strong dedication to San Diego, a city where it has experienced substantial growth. Apple remains committed to expanding its engineering teams and is actively hiring in the area. Apple centralizes all of its employees in one office in other countries where the affected team operates.
The San Diego staff was taken aback by the sudden move. According to sources, the AI team has been operating out of an office space rented by Apple. According to recent reports, the company had informed its employees that they would be relocated to a new Apple campus in the area by the end of January. In a recent development, Apple has reportedly provided packing boxes to its employees in preparation for an upcoming relocation within the city.
As a result, they will be relocating to Texas. According to sources familiar with the matter, a significant number of workers who have been impacted have expressed their reluctance to move to Austin. According to sources, Apple has informed its employees that they have the option to seek employment in other positions. However, there are concerns among some employees that their lack of engineering backgrounds may limit their eligibility for various roles.
San Diego employees have been diligently utilizing Siri in a variety of languages, including Hebrew, English, multiple dialects of Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and French. Several dozen workers may leave the company as a result of the move. Apple, with a workforce of 161,000 employees as of September, has largely been able to steer clear of layoffs during the pandemic, setting it apart from many other tech companies. Last April, the company made the decision to cut a number of corporate retail jobs, including recruiters.
Apple has announced that employees who are willing to relocate to Austin by the end of June will be able to keep their roles. A relocation stipend of $7,000 is being offered by the company. Employees who decide to depart from Apple will have their positions terminated and will receive a severance package of four weeks, with an extra week added for each year of service. In addition, they will receive six months of health insurance.
The team has a remarkable track record at Apple. In the past, the group primarily consisted of contractors who were responsible for verifying the accuracy of Siri queries. In 2019, the practice was made optional for customers due to raised privacy concerns. The contractors were ultimately terminated and substituted with full-time employees.
Some employees within the group have started supporting Apple in their transition towards AI products that rely on large language models, or LLMs. Employees are currently reviewing potential queries to Siri and selecting from a small number of answers. They are then required to provide an explanation for their decision. According to a report by Bloomberg News, Apple is set to unveil its LLM plans in June.