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Mockup of Apple's expected Assistant interface
Siri co-founder Norman Winarsky provides some details and impressions of their original Siri Assistant technology in an interview with 9to5Mac. Siri was a virtual assistant application that was released for the iPhone back in February, 2010. While the app still remains in the App Store, the company was acquired by Apple back in April, 2010.
Apple is expected to finally launch their own version of this intelligent assistant interface alongside the new iPhone at tomorrow's media event. The new feature is expected to be exclusive to the new iPhone which carries a faster A5 processor.
Winarsky provides some details about why the software would require so much processing power. While the original version of the software does run on the iPhone 3GS, he says that "all kinds of optimizations and shortcuts" were done to get it to work on the device. Winarsky reports that it will likely run "much better" on a faster phone.
Winarsky is also not bashful about what the significance of Apple's adaptation of Siri technology would mean, calling it a "World-Changing" event:
Make no mistake: Apple’s ‘mainstreaming’ Artificial Intelligence in the form of a Virtual Personal Assistant is a groundbreaking event. I’d go so far as to say it is a World-Changing event. Right now a few people dabble in partial AI enabled apps like Google Voice Actions, Vlingo or Nuance Go. Siri was many iterations ahead of these technologies, or at least it was two years ago. This is REAL AI with REAL market use. If the rumors are true, Apple will enable millions upon millions of people to interact with machines with natural language. The PAL will get things done and this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking another technology revolution. A new computing paradigm shift.Many have compared the technology to Google's Voice Actions for Android, but Winarsky believes their technology was much more advanced.
This video provides a mockup of what is expected to be the workflow for Apple's Assistant technology:
Apple will be launching the new iPhone tomorrow, October 4th, and is believed to be launching this Assistant software as well.