New, Lifelike Changes May Be In Store For Siri



In the world of artificial intelligence, there’s still a lot of miscommunication between you and your trusty smartphone assistant, Siri. But if predictions are correct, Siri could be getting an upgrade in the future.

According to reports by Business Insider, Apple recently bought a British startup called VocalIQ, a company that has been working on artificial intelligence and how to make it, well, more intelligent. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop repeating yourself so that Siri can understand you? The future is now…or maybe in a few years.

It’s clear from the descriptions of the technology behind VocalIQ that these developments could make Siri smarter, and that frequent use of the assistant could teach it (her?) your habits, thus making it even easier to understand you and assist you. It could even let Siri have normal conversations with you as if it (her?) were a human being (Her?).

No word yet on if she’ll make you fall in love with her.

The technology was created by European researchers at Cambridge, who worked on something called the Parlance Project, a project that “aims to design and build mobile applications that approach human performance in conversational interaction.”


The Parlance Project released an Android app last year called Speak&Eat, a vocal assistant that helps you find restaurants. The video below shows a user choosing an Italian restaurant in San Francisco based on a conversation conducted with the AI.

The biggest difference between the VocalIQ’s technology and Siri is that the former is able to sustain conversations and answer follow-up questions, because it remembers the series of questions that you’ve asked during the session and how you’ve answered.

For example, the current Siri cannot answer the question “Where is that restaurant located?” after you’ve chosen a restaurant from the list of choices she gave you, because she doesn’t recall and store the information from the “conversation.” VocalIQ is smarter, letting the user interact with the AI as if it were a normal human being in conversation. You can even ask the AI if there are any cheap items on the restaurant’s menu. Imagine Siri doing that!

If predictions are correct, which seems likely, then Apple has acquired this technology/business/app in order to incorporate the system’s capabilities into its own Siri function. So not only will Siri always be listening to you, but she’ll be able to carry on a sustained conversation when you wake her up. Scary, or awesome? Maybe a bit of both.

Here’s a video of the VocalIQ capabilities, which will give you some examples of the kind of assistance Siri may be able to lend you in the future:

Siri is built into almost every piece of technology Apple has, including the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and later this year, even the new Apple TV. Digital assistants with AI are the future, and Apple is definitely looking to get on the ground floor of improvements, to make their digital assistant the best and smartest.

About The Author
Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.