Tech Giant Nudges Staff for Geographical Shift as Siri Operations Undergo Changes
In a surprising move, Apple has requested its Siri quality control team based in San Diego to relocate to its campus in Austin, Texas, according to a recent Bloomberg report. The company has given the 121 employees until the end of January to decide whether they are willing to make the move, stating that those who choose not to relocate could face potential job termination by April 26.
The San Diego team, responsible for reviewing Siri interactions to ensure appropriate responses, will be combined with an existing team in Austin. Apple spokespersons confirmed that employees who opt for relocation will have the opportunity to continue their roles at the Texas campus. The move is part of Apple’s efforts to streamline its operations and consolidate teams.
Employees were reportedly taken by surprise, as initial indications from Apple suggested a relocation to another San Diego campus rather than a move to Texas. While Apple has encouraged affected staff to explore other job opportunities within the company, some express doubts about their qualifications for alternative roles in the city, leading many to consider not making the move.
The sudden nature of the relocation announcement has raised concerns about potential departures. Although not officially labeled as layoffs, the situation mirrors elements of job displacement, as some employees may find it challenging to uproot their lives on short notice. Apple, known for avoiding layoffs in recent years, is offering relocation incentives for those willing to move, including a $7,000 stipend. For those opting not to relocate, the company plans to provide four weeks of severance pay, plus an additional week’s worth for each year worked, along with six months of health insurance.
The San Diego team is responsible for monitoring Siri recordings in various languages, including Hebrew, English, Spanish, and Arabic. Despite utilizing human quality checks for Siri, Apple has faced criticism for perceived delays in advancing its digital assistant technology compared to competitors like Google and Meta.
In recent efforts to catch up in the AI space, Apple has invested heavily in AI development, including the introduction of Large Language Models (LLMs). The company has also sought training data from news outlets and released frameworks and libraries supporting AI development on code repositories. Apple’s plans for LLMs are expected to be announced in June, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to enhancing its digital assistant technology.
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