Apple takes a big step toward improving Siri

Yolanda Curtis
April 6, 2020

Apple could possibly take some of those tricks to reduce Siri's footprint and run more of its processes on the device instead of requiring a data connection.

Although Siri has a natural fit, Apple's plans for Voysis are not yet known.

As Bloomberg reports, Apple acquired Voysis, an artificial intelligence startup that aims to improve Siri's performance when communicating with humans. The company's AI-based technology is bought by shopping apps and embedded into these apps' own voice assistants. I'm not sure whether Voysis will continue with its mission inside Apple.

Apple itself did not have much to say about the deal, delivering the standard response to Bloomberg: "Apple occasionally buys smaller technology companies, and we generally don't discuss our objective or plans". This is one of the biggest challenges that virtual assistants must overcome while learning to interact with human users.

The Voysis platform allowed customers to hone in on search requests with simple phrases like "I need a new LED TV" or "Just show me the 4K ones".

While it's easy for a person to interpret that statement, it is a nightmare for search engines.

Voysis was founded in 2012 and sold its services to several companies. Now though, the acquisition means that Voysis will be used to upgrade Siri. Over the past few years, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa have become the most popular digital assistants in the world. Yet, Siri struggles and was left behind Alexa and Google Assistant. Siri works only if your questions are phrased in a certain way. Asking the digital assistant a question in plain language often yields an unhelpful web search or a snarky answer. The startup's "intelligent voice systems" can provide businesses with "rich, natural language interactions between their brands and users", according to an archived page on the Voysis website, which has now been removed.

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