Remember the Turing Test? A proposal to evaluate a machine’s ability to demonstrate intelligence. Siri (now through private invitation only) plans to raise your mobile’s smartness to interactive intelligence. Born out of SRI’s CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) Project, the largest Artificial Intelligence project in the U.S., Siri brings conversational interface, brokering with multiple web/mobile services, and personal context awareness to mobile devices. Meet the team.
Siri is the first mainstream consumer mobile application to behave like a Virtual Personal Assistant. It focuses on mobile internet, where an intelligent interface can help people get things done that would otherwise be cumbersome or impractical using the link-following paradigm i.e. typical search technology model. For example, in a single spoken utterance the user can ask the assistant to find a nearby restaurant satisfying personal preferences and make table reservations online for a given time. In the traditional paradigm this task would require traversing many links and pages — and accessing multiple accounts — making it impractical in a mobile situation.
Unlike search engines i.e. the indexing & sorting method, an AI-based virtual assistant will give different answers depending on the individual preferences and personal context (place, time, history). Siri takes maximum advantage of context awareness technology in the modern smart phone combined with cloud-based personalized state management and persistence. As a result, the user gets the advantages of both big computation in the cloud and small computation in the field.
Objectively speaking, the development indicates a significant leap towards the next generation of application and platform developments, as the new devices would leverage on intelligences at two levels: the internet – crowd intelligence – bringing value from our composite social lives, and AI itself. From mobile’s perspective, the devices are now destined to acquire a larger share in our lives with more personal belongingness and possibly higher emotional attachment too.
Questions is, will social technologies outsmart group of individuals too in the future? It already outsmarts individuals, doesn’t it?