Apple beefing up Siri, speech and language teams with wave of new openings

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Apple on Wednesday and Thursday opened up several job listings related to speech technology, Siri, and language recognition, suggesting intensified work on natural input for future products, AppleInsider has discovered.




The Siri positions, posted on Thursday, include a platform development manager and a developer tools engineer. The former will "lead a team that builds the foundation for Siri," according to Apple, while the latter will work on internal tools for "collaborative design, development, testing, and tracking."

The company is also searching for two pattern recognition engineers, both of whom must have "exceptional experience developing modern handwriting or speech recognition solutions." Perhaps most significant are five openings for software engineers in the company's Natural Languages Group. These openings are primarily centered around text features like auto-correction and parts-of-speech tagging, but the NLG is also dedicated to areas such as input method conversion "and other solutions that incorporate natural language information."

In some cases, candidates for the NLG openings must be familiar with multiple languages. One of them is specifically oriented towards Chinese, and asks for someone who can help improve Chinese text input and language recognition in general.

While Apple periodically hires people in these areas, it's unusual for the company to post this number of related listings within the space of two days.

Voice technology is becoming increasingly important to Apple. Siri is present on every current iOS device, and could eventually come to OS X. Since it lacks screen space for features like a keyboard, the Apple Watch is highly dependent on voice -- dictation is needed to send texts, and Siri can simplify many actions.

The company may also want to smooth out the rough edges of iOS and OS X's text input systems. Two common complaints are that Apple's software can sometimes auto-correct to the wrong word, and that suggested words in the iOS 8 keyboard can be off the mark.

Chinese characters have been a long-running concern, as while typed pinyin Chinese is an option, handwriting has proved hard to make quick and accurate.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Well, looks like Siri will get the love many here were hoping it would get :)
  • Reply 2 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,748member
    Siri, please marry Watson and have a baby.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,125member
    I hope iOS 9 merges some of the voice tech from the Novauris acquisition.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,501member
    Suggestions should appear immediately. The little animation words make is slow and removes the point of suggestions for me.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,530member
    Well, looks like Siri will get the love many here were hoping it would get :)

    Siri's backend {that sounds dirty} has been getting updates at fairly regular intervals. Unfortunately it often seems to take one step forward and two back. I find it to be very frustrating to use even for simple things like getting a map to a destination.

    So while development is ongoing Siri has a long ways to go. The article also hinted at the spell check feature in Apples operating systems which frankly is in bigger need of overhaul than Siri in my estimation. I not sure what is wrong with spell check but it really needs a total overhaul. We especially need an easy way to unlearn words that spell checking has learned wrong. Automatically adding words to its dictionary is pretty stupid really.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,748member
    wizard69 wrote: »
    Siri's backend {that sounds dirty} has been getting updates at fairly regular intervals. Unfortunately it often seems to take one step forward and two back. I find it to be very frustrating to use even for simple things like getting a map to a destination.

    So while development is ongoing Siri has a long ways to go. The article also hinted at the spell check feature in Apples operating systems which frankly is in bigger need of overhaul than Siri in my estimation. I not sure what is wrong with spell check but it really needs a total overhaul. We especially need an easy way to unlearn words that spell checking has learned wrong. Automatically adding words to its dictionary is pretty stupid really.

    I agree with the "unlearning" misspelled words. That has been a real annoyance.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    I agree with the "unlearning" misspelled words. That has been a real annoyance.

    I can't say how much I agree with you guys! Also, i'm convinced that the spellchecker "crowd learns" some very wrong words. Some of the corrections are downright absurd, typically ones that finish with LOL...

  • Reply 8 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,510member
    hmurchison wrote: »
    I hope iOS 9 merges some of the voice tech from the Novauris acquisition.



    I still wonder if that is to do with extricating Apple from Nuance's grip. Wasn't Nuance in talks with Samsung last year?
  • Reply 9 of 12
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,899member

    As much as I love Siri and Dictation, I don't see its voice recognition is even close to Google. Google recognize 99% of what I say while Siri...maybe 70%.

  • Reply 10 of 12
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,733member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    As much as I love Siri and Dictation, I don't see its voice recognition is even close to Google. Google recognize 99% of what I say while Siri...maybe 70%.


     

    You must have some extraordinarily precise diction with a standard accent, using a limited set of words then.

    Your results are so far away from mine it isn't even in the same ballpark.

    Not sure any of them are better than 70% for me.

     

    The number of times they all understand the wrong words is ridiculous.

    I've been frustrated with those things since the 1990s. Eventually by the time I die, I expect them to be OK ;-).

  • Reply 11 of 12
    Uh... why is this happening now as opposed to being DONE ALREADY??? Why can the world's most profitable company only seem to do 1 thing at a time?
  • Reply 12 of 12

    it would be a game changer if they allowed us to play songs just by saying the name into Siri and play it from their new beats streaming app. I'd have to drop Spotify

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