Technology Behind the “Siri”

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By- Archit Khullar ( 10-ecu-043 )

Apple’s famous “one more thing” during iPhone 4S presentation last week came in the form of Siri. It’s an “Intelligent Personal Assistant” that understands what you are telling it to do and can perform certain tasks. E.g. reserve a table at your favorite restaurant, reply to SMS, set a calendar appointment, tell you whether it will rain tomorrow, or figure out the distance to the moon. But the opinion about Siri remains divided.  There is a majority of those whose see just nice voice control and speech recognition gimmicks of Siri and think “Meh”. “’Seen that already, many times. Maybe Apple’s stuff is nicer, neater, does a bit more and is interesting in some limited cases. But still, meh.” And then there are those who know a bit more about the origins, history and the insides of Siri, who think that it is a world changing technology, on par with Mouse and GUI. So who is right?

Siri was originally introduced as an iOS application available in the App Store. Siri was acquired by Apple Inc. on April 28, 2010. Siri had announced that their software would be available for BlackBerry and for Android-powered phones, but all development efforts for non-Apple platforms were cancelled after Apple's purchase. DARPA INVOLVEMENT

With Siri, Apple is using the results of over 40 years of research funded by DARPA via SRI International Artificial Intelligence Program through the Personalized Assistant that Learns Program and Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes Program CALO. This includes the combined work from research teams from Carneige mellon University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Rochester,  Oregan State University, and Stanford University. This technology has come a long way with dialog and natural language understanding, machine learning, evidential and probabilistic reasoning, ontology and knowledge representation, planning, reasoning and service delegation.

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