Apple buys startup to help Siri act more like a real person

Apple buys startup to help Siri act more like a real person

Apple is looking to make Siri better, and its latest move is buying a voice-recognition startup.

The company today confirmed to the Financial Times it bought VocalIQ, a company dedicated to allowing voice assistants to understand natural dialog. Think more sci-fi AI and less repeating the same thing three times to get it right.

Apple didn’t say exactly how it plans to make use of vocal IQ, however. It just provided its standard issue response for company purchases:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

But it’s not hard to see how the startup’s tech could feed into Siri. On its homepage, VocalIQ says its main advantage over current voice assistants is its ability to ask users clarifying questions when it misunderstands commands – just like a real person would.

Furthermore, it can remember earlier responses and know how to reply to you based on context. Siri, Cortana and Google Voice can’t even remember the last question you asked.

VocalIQ says you shouldn’t have to learn to to know how to speak to voice assistants, they should be learning how to speak to you. That sounds like a good plan to me, so hopefully Apple makes fruitful use of the technology.

Apple buys UK-based speech technology start-up VocalIQ [Financial Times via Business Insider]

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