Prizmo 5

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Making Siri More Human

David Pierce has a feature story on WIRED today that’s all about Siri – especially the new Siri voice coming in iOS 11. It features a variety of interesting details concerning Siri’s history, the way Apple thinks about the digital assistant, and in-depth details on how new Siri languages are added.

One of my favorite bits involves a quote from Apple’s VP of product marketing, Greg Jozwiak, who said Apple focuses on Siri’s ability to get things done:

It drives him crazy that people compare virtual assistants by asking trivia questions, which always makes Siri look bad. “We didn’t engineer this thing to be Trivial Pursuit!” he says.

This explains Siri’s productivity-focused commercial starring The Rock, and also helps make sense of the fact that Siri is often embarrassingly clueless when it comes to current events or other simple queries. Though Apple’s awareness of the problem exacerbates its lack of a suitable response in beefing up Siri’s trivia knowledge.

Other interesting tidbits from the story include the fact that Siri now has a massive 375 million active monthly users, and that Siri’s new, more natural voice was inspired in part by the movie Her.