Siri could see a big upgrade thanks to neural networking


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Siri, which became an integral part to iOS back in 2011, has seen plenty of improvements over the years, but according to a new report, the feature’s biggest update could be right around the corner.
In a profile outlined by Wired, it looks like Apple could be gearing up to improve Siri in a big way. Starting as an outline to what’s known as neural networking, algorithms which are meant to make computers smarter in certain aspects, the report outlines how other companies have jumped onto this technology in big ways, to see some vast improvements. Specifically, Google’s implemented neural networking to improve their own voice recognition, and Microsoft uses the technology to make their Skype Translate work — which makes translating spoken word into another language almost instantaneous.
Apple, though, has reportedly shied away from neural networking itself, opting to use another company altogether for their Siri needs. While Nuance has obviously worked well enough for Siri so far, rumors that Samsung could be moving to buy Nuance could be forcing Apple’s hand. To that, hiring Alex Acero last year –who is now a senior director at Apple’s Siri group — points to some changes that could be in store for Siri. The report suggests that Apple has been building their own speech recognition team, which could very well mean they plan on taking over Siri’s speech recognition and implementation in-house.
Moreover, the report suggests that with these moves, and with the potential purchase of Nuance by one of Apple’s biggest competitors, the obvious move for Apple is a neural network-boosted Siri. Indeed, Apple has made moves that suggest an internal team will be taking over the majority of Siri duties, including hiring researchers from Nuance directly, including Siri manager Gunnar Evermann.
Apple has seen upgrades in every new release of iOS, with iOS 8′s implementation the best iteration so far, but with with neural networking an obvious possibility for Apple’s digital personal assistant, the future is bright. The obvious question, though, is whether or not more people will start using Siri because of those changes. Moreover, if Apple is indeed bringing Siri development in-house, much like they did with their Maps app, can the company avoid a disaster like the latter feature brought on?
Do you use Siri at all? How would you like Apple to improve the feature?
[via Wired]

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