Discover the history and evolution of the Apple Assistant – the clare people

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Apple’s virtual assistant tool, Siri’s full years of life this Monday (4). Created to be called by women, it has adopted masculine voice tones in recent months and now has both genders: Siri or Siri, as you prefer to call it. The point is that this important ally of iOS users is celebrating his birthday today and Canaltech has prepared a special with the story and some trivia about it.

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  • First thing to know: no, the technology was not created from scratch by Apple. Siri is a project originally developed by the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center, an organization founded in 1966 by DARPA, in the United States, and considered to be the pioneer in the development of “computational resources for intelligent behavior in situations. complex ”. The application has been designed to adapt to the user’s use and provide answers based on their preferences, habits and recurring attitudes.

    The virtual assistant was not created by Apple (Image: Omid Armin / Unsplash)

    At the time, Google and Blackberry were looking for features that could use AI to transform voice commands and actions on cellphones, but the negotiations did not evolve. In addition to offering ease of use for the regular user, the addition would allow use by visually impaired people and for those who have difficulty handling touch screens, for example.

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    The speech recognition engine was developed by Nuance Communications, with support for neural network and short- and long-term memory (LSTM) technologies. There in 2005, when the technology was being developed, American comedians were hired, Brits and Australians to lend their voices to the software, but the professionals had no idea what the purpose of the job was.

    From the app to the “heart” of iOS

    It took about five years of tweaks and improvements to make the app available to the public on iOS, which took place in February 2010. The reception was so positive that Apple decided to purchase program two. months later for undisclosed amounts – something in the range of US $ is speculated 98 and 200 million. Instead of keeping it as a separate app, the giant decided to give the friendly assistant a bigger focus.

    Before being integrated into iOS, Siri was an app (Image: Play / Apple)

    Upon purchase, Siri Inc., a subsidiary of SRI International, became part of Apple. Adam Cheyer, co-founder of the former company, becomes director of engineering for the division with the mission of leading this first process of integration between the old project and the ambitious projected future. The iPhone 4S took place on October 4, 2010 and also marked the start of Siri’s new life: the official phone assistant. Since then, it has become a key part of iOS and is present on iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, each compatible with iPad, Mac / iMac / Macbook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV devices respectively.

    On iOS 5, it was possible to perform very limited actions, such as setting reminders and calendars, composing a text or email, listening to music, and making calls. With a few touches of improvement, it was also possible to interact with external apps like Google Maps, MovieTickers, and TaxiMagic, which opened the door for other companies to make similar integrations.

    Evolution to date

    It is quite remarkable to analyze the evolution of Siri’s release up to the present day. At first, recognition was quite complex and required very correct pronunciation to work. Before having a Portuguese version, which only took place in February 2020, the only way to reap the benefits of the assistant was to converse in English, a task almost impossible given the limited level of comprehension. There is even an episode of the series The Big Bang Theory in which the trio of protagonists, native English speakers, couldn’t get Siri to understand their commands:

    In iOS 6, Siri got noticeable improvements, such as support for three more languages ​​(Italian, Spanish and Mandarin), as well as a higher level of integration with Apple Maps, which made it possible to locate restaurants. , results of baseball and football teams, as well as actions involving major social networks of the time, such as Facebook and Twitter.

    But it was from iOS 8 that one of the most interesting features emerged: the “Hey Siri!” Voice command response. and a new era of power without the need to press any device buttons. It is also in this new version that it has been integrated with the Shazam music recognition application to identify songs with only the recording of a sample and the possibility of making purchases on iTunes using only the voice.

    Since then, new commands have been added and the assistant’s robotic speech has become something more natural. Today, Siri speaks very similarly to a person, without those stuck and stale phrases, with the ability for the user to create shortcuts as spoken phrases.

    Curiosities and controversies

      • Dub actress Regina Bittar was Siri’s first voice in Brazil. She also played the role of voice actor for Google, which is why their two voices are alike;
      • Many of the original voice actors have just discovered that their voices were used on Siri when it was released to the public;
      • The removal of the app from Siri may be intended to prevent other developers from reverse engineering and using the technology for other purposes. The proof is when the developer Steven Troughton-Smith managed to port it to the iPhone 4, but without being able to communicate with Apple’s servers;
      • Investment firm Mangrove Capital Partners predicted that Apple would launch SiriOS at its developer conference in 1966 to expand the ecosystem. The idea would be to compete with Amazon’s Alexa Skills platform, which would make the assistant more user-friendly for integration with third-party apps. Although this has not happened, Apple offers SiriKit to enable this integration;
      • One of the fun things about using Siri is the fun answers to more complex questions, such as “What’s the meaning of life?” Or “Will you marry me?” In the first case, for example, she might say that “eating chocolate” is the true meaning of life, while she dodges the marriage proposal based on the end-user license agreement, which would not allow her. to marry ;
      • Besides funny responses, she can also tell jokes and even beatbox: try saying “Siri, make a beatbox” and see how well she does;
      • Although it has been identified as revolutionary, specialist critics have had fairly middling reactions to the system. This was to be expected due to the limited understanding of speech and a few basic characteristics, which have changed over time;
      • From time to time, rumors and accusations crop up regarding the misuse of assistant recordings by Apple users. Until today, this has never been proven.

        Is Siri’s record positive in this first decade of integration into the Apple ecosystem and is it doing better against its rivals Alexa and Google Assistant?

        Source: Wikipedia, Quora

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