Lyft announced today that it is hiring Tal Shaked, an engineer who previously worked at Google, to serve as its first-ever head of machine learning and artificial intelligence. According to the company, Shaked will largely be focusing on improving technologies used to match riders and drivers and finding new ways to apply machine learning to the ride sharing firm's platform. Essentially, Shaked's job will be to make Lyft's services smarter.
Lyft has previously detailed some of its uses of machine learning, including figuring out how to attract more riders during otherwise slow periods and detecting fraudulent behavior. However, the company barely made any mention of AI or machine learning in its IPO filing earlier this year, only noting that data from rider and driver travel is used to optimize and improve future rides.
Shaked will likely help Lyft integrate machine learning and AI in new ways. The engineer was a member of the Google Brain project that focused on deep learning artificial intelligence research. Technology from the team was used to sharpmen image quality, create a new type of encryption, improve the functionality of Google Translate and teach robots how to deal with complex tasks. While at Google Brain, Shaked co-founded Sibyl, the most widely deployed machine learning platform at Google.