Siri, an AI orphan, almost landed on all Android devices from Verizon

In a new story published yesterday, The Huffington Post delves into the history of Siri, Apple’s voice-assistant that seems to be ubiquitous to the iPhone experience since the 4S came out. One of the interesting bits of information from the article deals with how the technology almost ended up on all Android phones that were going to be sold by Verizon.

According to the story, in the fall of 2009 Verizon inked a deal with Siri what would have made Siri a default app on all Android phones that Verizon was getting ready to launch the following year. However, Steve Jobs had apparently run across the iOS version of the Siri app in February 2010 and thought it was just what the iPhone needed to create a speech interface for Apple’s devices. Despite Verizon having already started working on implementing Siri on their Android devices, to the extent some early commercials had been developed, Apple somehow swooped in and insisted on Siri being exclusive to their devices and managed to nix the Verizon deal.

The Huffington Post article also reveals some the history of Siri. The genesis of the technology was rooted in a 2003 Department of Defense project referred to as CALO – Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes. The idea was to create a computer that could learn in the “wild.” It was considered a huge artificial intelligence project and by most measures was a success. Through a series of challenges over the succeeding years, some of the key principles in the project ended up starting Siri to capitalize in the market by producing a virtual assistant. One feature they hoped to include in the product was the ability to be a “smartass” when appropriate in order to provide some amusement. The Siri project team also worked to incorporate the use of a variety of web services through APIs, an idea that was scaled back immensely by Apple along with the language of the responses. In the end, Apple scaled back much of Siri’s powers to where it is a ghost of the artificial intelligence roots buried within its capabilities.

If you have some time available to read the article, you may want to check out The Huffington Post story in the source link for more about artificial intelligence and where we might be headed with virtual assistants on our smartphones and other devices.

source: The Huffington Post

via: The Verge

» See more articles by Jeff Causey


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