Siri's voice to benefit from machine learning improvements in Apple's iOS 10

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in iPhone
When iOS 10 arrives this fall -- most likely in September -- Siri's voice should sound a little more natural thanks to machine learning technology Apple is implementing, an interview revealed on Wednesday.




The company is swapping out some licensed technology for a deep neural network (DNN), according to Backchannel, which spoke with several key Apple executives. The head of advanced development for Siri, Tom Gruber, noted that while the assistant's responses are still being stitched together from a central database of recordings, machine learning will smooth out sentences and make Siri sound more human.

Siri's robotic-sounding voice has often been spoofed and criticized. Recently, singer Barbra Streisand called Apple CEO Tim Cook to complain about how Siri pronounces her last name -- in response Cook promised to fix the problem in a coming update, which may have been a reference to the Siri upgrade.

The interview -- also featuring executives like senior VPs Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi -- noted that Apple in fact moved Siri's voice recognition to a neural net-based system in July 2014, but didn't publicize the fact until today. The technology is said to have drastically improved Siri's ability to understand commands.

Federighi commented that Apple has "a lot" of people working on machine learning technology, including not just Siri but things like palm rejection for the Apple Pencil. There is no central machine learning group, however.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 779member
    I bought an Amazon Echo a few weeks ago for no good reason other than they were on sale. :) I used to think Siri sounded good until I heard Alexa. Siri is still smarter, though.
    Solilolliver
  • Reply 2 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,032member
    1) People were asking what an iOS update had to do with Siri, since it was assumed that Siri's intelligence was only on the backend. Now we know that's not the case.

    2) I assume there are a plethora of Siri commands that can save me time and effort that I a) were added later that I never learned about, and b) that I tried use in the past but gave up on after it failed to work properly. I guess it's time to lookup and test her functionality.

    edited August 2016 patchythepiratenolamacguyjbdragonlolliver
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Every now and then I notice how Siri's voice overall has been improving little by little. This would be even better, as it could lead way to injecting emotion into a response (cheerfulness, laughter, concern, comfort, etc.) depending on the situation.
    lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I prefer to use the English female SIRI voice, and that's what I use on all of my devices, it just sounds better, more sophisticated and slightly sexier to me.


    jbdragonlostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 12
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,813member
    People are surprised that many of my messages and emails are dictated to Siri while I'm driving. They don't know that you can add punctuation marks too.
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,032member
    mike1 said:
    People are surprised that many of my messages and emails are dictated to Siri while I'm driving. They don't know that you can add punctuation marks too.
    You ever do a voice message and find yourself saying the punctuation because you're used speech-to-text with Siri question mark
    bonoboblolliverlostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 12
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 358member
    Soli said:
    mike1 said:
    People are surprised that many of my messages and emails are dictated to Siri while I'm driving. They don't know that you can add punctuation marks too.
    You ever do a voice message and find yourself saying the punctuation because you're used speech-to-text with Siri question mark

    Solidementuschikanwaverboyiqatedo
  • Reply 8 of 12
    ajmasajmas Posts: 581member
    While on the subject of Siri, it would be great if proper pronunciation of local names was improved in Apple Maps. As an example, I navigate in English, but I am in a region where names are French (Quebec). Names are truly massacred. Think of Engrish to get an idea of the types of issues. 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 9 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,032member
    ajmas said:
    While on the subject of Siri, it would be great if proper pronunciation of local names was improved in Apple Maps. As an example, I navigate in English, but I am in a region where names are French (Quebec). Names are truly massacred. Think of Engrish to get an idea of the types of issues. 
    Multilingual typing is coming to iOS 10, so hopefully this also allows for Maps to speak with a better accent.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Soli said:
    1) People were asking what an iOS update had to do with Siri, since it was assumed that Siri's intelligence was only on the backend. Now we know that's not the case.

    2) I assume there are a plethora of Siri commands that can save me time and effort that I a) were added later that I never learned about, and b) that I tried use in the past but gave up on after it failed to work properly. I guess it's time to lookup and test her functionality.

    Check this for a good siri command overview - tons in here I didn't know. https://hey-siri.io
    Solilolliver
  • Reply 11 of 12
    apple ][ said:
    I prefer to use the English female SIRI voice, and that's what I use on all of my devices, it just sounds better, more sophisticated and slightly sexier to me.


    We'll talk sexy when Siri sounds like Barbara Eden...
  • Reply 12 of 12
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,056member
    Every now and then I notice how Siri's voice overall has been improving little by little. This would be even better, as it could lead way to injecting emotion into a response (cheerfulness, laughter, concern, comfort, etc.) depending on the situation.
    I don't care how Siri sounds - she's just a program.   I want it to better understand me.
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