Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple's Siri is revolutionary

Harvard Business Review: Apple's Siri Is as Revolutionary as the Mac

"Being able to talk to a phone like it's a personal assistant is something that people are going to get very used to, very quickly. It's a much more natural approach than using a mouse on a desktop. And I highly doubt the impact is going to stop at phones. Of course, the computer is going to benefit, but the potential hardly stops there. Take television. Why bother with remotes and complicated TV guides covering hundreds of channels?"

This is one of my Big Life Projects that I have always wanted to do: marry speech recognition with "narrow AI" You don't need HAL-9000-level AI in order to tell your [virtual] personal assistant to add milk to the grocery list, or ask about the weather. Just narrow, scripted AI familiar with your own personal lingo.

So I agree with the author that Apple has something revolutionary, here.

Siri may not achieve that level of usability, but I'm confident technology will get to that point rapidly. Voice recognition is deployed in almost every new mobile phone, and many autos. Google Voice transcribes thousands of voicemails every day. That much field testing and engineering will produce the desired results eventually.