Originally developed by former defense contractors looking to make a profit from unused algorithms involving human speech patterns, Siri is Apple’s latest revolutionary app for the iPhone. While Siri has technically been available to iPhone users for months, it was only the other day at the announcement of the iPhone 4S being released that Siri has gotten a complete makeover. Once just another hit-or-miss way for mobile phone users to access information without touching their device, Siri is now a working attempt at what will be the next step in computer technology: artificial intelligence.
Smartphone users are no strangers to voice recognition apps, and as the aforementioned suggests, not many people are impressed by them. Without clear-sounding concise instructions these apps often fail to actually do what the user wants them to. The result is an iffy chance of success that leaves most users deciding to never bother with the program again. But according to Apple, Siri has all of that figured out.
Siri is designed to tolerate a wide variety of voice inflections and sentence structure. Not only that, Siri will talk about. If you said, for example, “Siri, I’m looking to see a play Friday evening in downtown Charleston, find a phone number for a local box office” Siri would respond with “I have found a number of theatres in the area” and will list you the contact information for each one. Yes – Siri talks back. And the fail rate for reasonable requests is much lower than in previous instances of voice recognition in the app world.
Yet in the days that followed Apple’s last press event, very few people gave much thought toward this revolutionary new app. Instead, they focused on how disappointed they were in the iPhone 4S, which is really just a snobby way of saying they’re upset at how gullible they all were for thinking an iPhone 5 was about to be unveiled. Because of this sentiment held towards the iPhone 4S, most bloggers and analysts haven’t felt up for praising the historically-significant introduction of the Siri app that came along with it.
With the unfortunate and untimely passing of former Apple founder and innovator Steve Jobs, maybe the blogosphere will revisit the iPhone 4S – and Siri through it – with an improved sense of understanding regarding the significance of this app. An era of technology has ended with the death of Jobs. But with the introduction of Siri, a new one may have simultaneously been jump-started.