Apple just bought an artificial intelligence company in an expected effort to make Siri more realistic and human-like, allowing users to have “conversations” with the virtual personal assistant.
Known as VocalIQ, the British company constructs technology that learns and understands human speech better than other artificial intelligence programs on the market. The Financial Times reported Apple likely bought the company on Friday to improve Siri’s verbal interaction with iPhone owners, as well as to improve in-car technology and navigation.
“All previous attempts on conversational voice-dialog have relied on handcrafted flow-charts that simply cannot handle the variety of ever-changing scenarios that IoT [Internet of Things] creates,” VocalIQ’s blog said. “Fortunately help is at hand. VocalIQ has developed the world’s first self-learning API [application program interface] and allow real conversation between human and the Internet of Things [machines].”
According to the Independent, VocalIQ has been collecting mathematical and academic data on artificial intelligence speech for the last 10 years, building an operating system that will allow humans to have realistic conversations with robots or virtual assistants like Siri. (RELATED: Apple Is On Fire, Breaks Record For Number Of iPhones Sold On Opening Weekend)
The tech firm was born out of the University of Cambridge’s Dialogue System Group, an engineering program focused on statistical studies of speech recognition and human dialogue implemented through artificial intelligence. According to the Financial Times, VocalIQ created a formula where computers understand the context of human conversations, thus better understands commands and questions given by humans.
“Traditional spoken dialogue interfaces are handcrafted, fragile and frustrating,” VocalIQ’s website said. “It is unrealistic to expect seven billion people to start talking to machines in a way mandated by a programmer. Dialogue systems need to learn how people speak, and not the other way round.”