One of the main new features (and in my opinion the most impressive) of the iPhone 4S, is Siri, a voice controlled assistant. The feature allows users to do a multitude of things just by talking to their iPhone. Things like scheduling events, setting alarms, making reminders, and even sending text messages and placing calls can all be done by voice.
Apple bought Siri, the company, a file back, and The Wall Street Journal recently sat down and spoke with one of the original co-founders regarding Siri’s personality. Here is what was said:
“There were many conversations within the team about whether it should be gender neutral” or “should have an ‘attitude,’ ” said Mr. Winarsky, who didn’t go to Apple, and still works at SRI. The result, before the software was bought by Apple, was “occasionally a light attitude,” he said.
The report goes on to note that Apple wanted to make Siri “friendly and humble — but also with an edge”, and based this design around how they wanted a real person to respond to questions and requests.
Interestingly, the report also suggests that the Siri group is one of the largest software teams inside of Apple, and the responses that the team made for Siri, were intended to create an emotional tie to the end-user.
To me, this is an amazing feature. It’s not perfect, but it’s quite possibly the most amazing piece of technology I’ve encountered to date. It’s just as Apple bills it- conversational and contextual. It just knows what you’re talking about. Plus, some of the responses you receive from Siri are, well, human.
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