Apple Said to Use Neural Network to Boost Siri’s Abilities

by Istvan Fekete on July 3, 2014

Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri, is due for an update, the artificial intelligence researcher community believes. The iPhone maker has already formed a team with a single aim: to enhance Siri using neural-net technology.

To understand what neural network means, we have to go back to Whistler, British Columbia, in 2009, where a small academic conference was sponsored by Microsoft. The topic was speech recognition and whether a new and unproven approach to machine intelligence — called deep learning — could help computers more effectively identify the spoken word, writes Wired.

The world’s preeminent deep learning expert, the University of Toronto’s Geoff Hinton, was invited to give a speech about his ideas on how the machines’ learning models could work as neurons in the human brain. He wanted to build “neural networks,” an idea the speech researchers weren’t that interested in, as they were already settled on their own algorithms.

Fortunately, the Microsoft team immediately recognized the potential that deep learning had and started working with Hinton’s researchers while running some experiments with real data.

And now, five years after that memorable conference, neural network algorithms have made their way to Android’s voice recognition. This is just one example, but there are other major players who use neural network algorithms: IBM and the recently demoed Skype Translate use them as well.

So if you put Siri side by side with Google Now, you can understand why Siri’s performance has improved since its launch, but why is Google Now faster? It recognizes your words as you say them.

This is why Apple has hired its own team to boost Siri’s performance, to be able to stand up against the competition. As Microsoft’s Peter Lee puts it, Apple will catch up with Microsoft and Google within six months and start using neural networks, which will significantly boost Siri’s abilities.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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