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Monday, October 5, 2015

Siri Could Get Even Smarter With Apple's Acquisition Of VocalIQ

"Hey Siri, give us a hint."

That was the catchphrase for Apple's recent iPhone event last month. The voice assistant has received various upgrades and improvements in iOS 9, making it more intuitive. There have even been patent applications that have surfaced in recent times which point to making Siri more human-like.

And now, Apple has taken another step in that direction. According to Business Weekly, the Cupertino company has acquired a speech-related artificial intelligence technology company out of Cambridge, UK.

VocalIQ, the software in question, was developed at the University of Cambridge's Dialogue Systems Group. It offers users the ability to talk more naturally with their smart devices. Instead of merely recognizing speech, the technology is able to understand and interpret dialogue.

A typical voice exchange with VocalIQ could sound something like this - When asked, "I don't care where we eat but I need to find a nice restaurant for my girlfriend," the software could respond, "There's a really nice place to eat, it has good reviews, and it's a 10 minute walk from your location. Are you OK with that?"

Adding human-like intelligence to Siri has been Apple's endeavor for quite some time now. If you remember, Siri was an independent company before Apple acquired them when Steve Jobs was still alive. The voice assistant has come a long way since and is now a staple in every mobile iDevice.

Although a monetary figure was not available for Apple's acquisition of VocalIQ, experts believe it's in the ballpark of $50-$100 million. Bank!!!

Source: Business Weekly

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