18 March 2014
Siri is Apple’s voice activated assistant that’s been designed to make your life easier and perform basic admin tasks. She, because Siri is a “she”, mimics natural conversation and human intelligence and is able to act on instruction and relay information accurately. Siri is the most sophisticated voice recognition system on the market and instead of simply receiving commands and executing them, she uses AI to relay what she is doing and ask relevant questions that will guide her to make the correct choice, or offer the chance to correct her if your instructions are misinterpreted. It’s this AI that makes Siri so unique and millions of users across the globe are using this assistant software to perform multiple tasks.
How does Siri work?
According to Apple, Siri can perform numerous tasks but her key functions are to open apps, send messages or call people in your contacts, interact with maps and location software, relay information on anything related to sports, movies, weather, stocks, news and other popular topics, set an alarm or a timer and send a meeting request. All of these tasks are initiated by simply speaking to your Apple device and Siri acts on instruction according to the request. The software that runs Siri is thus far more complicated than just a voice recognition program. Firstly, it is important that Siri can hear you correctly and interpret your instruction so phone cases are often removed to ensure she can understand exactly what you are asking within a limited number of words. Once she has heard your request, software converts spoken words into text format and then begins the process of trying to understand what is being requested. Using a process called natural language processing, Siri then tries to match requests to contact names, previous data, and actions while determining what the command could mean. For example, if you set up a meeting request with a friend to meet at a shop where you can create your own phone case Siri will search for the friends name, then try and analyse the verb and piece together the actual meaning of the sentence based on an algorithm that has been programmed into the software. After the request has been analysed, understood and acted upon, Siri must then reply with a text-based result that will also be verbally translated to the user. This is done using natural language generation, and while not as tricky as natural language processing, it still poses several challenges.
Getting the most out of Siri
Using Siri can be exceptionally rewarding and make your life far easier, but as she is essentially a piece of sophisticated software there are some tips you can try to ensure you receive the best response. Remove phone cases or anything that will muffle your voice and speak when prompted, not before and not after. You can also deactivate the microphone immediately after a request to ensure no ambient noise confuses Siri. Avoid calling Siri by her name as this can cause confusion and keep your requests short, succinct and to the point. Lastly, know Siri’s limitations, she is not Google and has been designed to perform limited functions and asking her the meaning of life will just frustrate you both!
Rahima Aktar on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 · Leave a Comment