Voice control systems are the thing that’s in, right now, with the two biggest smartphone platforms on the market each having their own, and in fact, there’s a couple on Android, depending on which phone you get. On Jelly Bean phones, you’ve got Google Voice Search/Google Now, and if you happen to own a Samsung phone like the Samsung Galaxy S3, you also get S-Voice (although S-Voice isn’t exactly what you’d call, well, good). The granddaddy of them all, though, is Siri, currently strutting its stuff on the iPhone 5.
But where did Siri come from? Where did Siri’s whole character arc begin (okay, enough with the film metaphors)? Thanks to an article in the Huffington Post, we now know…
For starters, it wasn’t originally made by Apple. Siri originally began its tenure on mobile phones as a standalone iPhone app, but its story goes back even further than that, back to the a project run by the Stanford Research Institute and DARPA. Yes, that DARPA, the mental ones, who keep trying to break science in the pursuit of super-tech, including (but not limited to) dog-shaped killbots. Siri can trace its roots directly back to the CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) project, y’see, and if you didn’t get it from the name, we’re talking a military AI, here.
After being a real world Skynet, appearing on phones like the iPhone 5 probably feels like a bit of a step down… .
After that, it was developed as a third party app, for the Apple App Store, and the next intriguing bit is that it nearly got funded by Verizon; basically, Siri nearly appeared on Android phones. Kinda strange to think of the iPhone’s most well-known feature appearing on Android phones, eh? Well, it nearly happened, so there ye go.
After that, Apple bought the company, and rolled the whole thing into the iOS platform, ending that multi-platform deal that was so close to being on the cards. At the same time, they gave Siri some new features (while, in a very Apple-ish kind of a way, blocking Siri from ever using certain words; you know the ones I mean, there the ones I use a lot when I’m not writing this blog, although oddly enough, I often use them when talking about Apple), like multi-language support, and the rest, as they say, is history.
And then Google Now came along, and proved to (in most areas) completely relieve itself all over Siri.
It’s not just me saying that, SCIENCE says so, too…
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