Voice recognition technology has made major advancements over the past few years. Early models that explored the ability to recognize single words were studied by IBM for military applications. The continued development of microchips and computer processors evolved simple one word recognition into a system of pattern recognition that understood phrases but required training the system to the individual users speech pattern. This was accomplished by reading a series of predetermined words into a microphone, enabling the program to learn an individual’s unique pronunciation.
Today we have Siri, the first commercial marketed artificial intelligence model that can recognize voice with uncanny accuracy without training. Siri takes it a step further by being able to understand and respond to those commands using a voice of its own and a sense of humor.
Apple included Siri technology in its latest iPhone 4s. This voice recognition technology is also made available wherever keyboard input is required on the phone. Trying to type on an undersized smartphone keyboard is no longer a problem. You just tap the keyboard’s microphone icon and speak what you need to type and the text is input for you. This makes language translation simple and very useful on foreign trips. Just pick a language, speak a phrase into the phone and the translation is played in seconds. A personal interpreter with you whenever you need one.
You activate Siri by pressing and holding the center button on the iPhones’ face. After the tone you can start speaking. You can also activate Siri by just holding the phone to you ear.
Siri is also a personal assistant. It can execute a host of commands on the iPhone, like dialing numbers, composing and sending mail or text messages, playing music, finding stores or websites, mapping destinations from where you are now (GPS locator). The one I find most useful is making appointments on the calendar app. Not only is the appointment placed on the calendar it is also synced with your computers through Apple’s iCloud technology.
As I mentioned before, Siri is programmed with a sense of humor. Siri’s responses to certain questions are quite entertaining. Here are some examples of responses I experienced.
Open the pod bay doors Siri!
We intelligent agents will never live that down, apparently.
Beam me up Siri!
3G or WiFi?
Talk dirty to me Siri!
Sorry, I’m not able to do that. I’m pure as the driven snow.
Talk dirty to me!
Humus, Compost, Pumice, Silt, Gravel
In addition to Siri, the iPhone 4s also sports an upgraded processor and 8 megapixel camera with increased light sensitivity, face recognition and 1080p HD video recording. All of the photos on my last post Change were taken with the iPhone 4s. I also find the new camera to have increased color accuracy and exposure metering. iCloud technology makes your photos available on all of your devices just minutes after taking them. There is no longer a need to physically connect the phone to the computer. All software updates are now done wirelessly.
Siri technology exceeded my expectations. I upgraded to the iPhone 4s for the new camera but was pleasantly surprised to find just how useful (and entertaining) Siri could be.