Apple is hiring engineers to coach Siri on sports

“Apple has published four job postings that reveal the company’s intent to make its Siri personal digital assistant more capable when it comes to fielding queries about sports,” Jordan Novet reports for VentureBeat. “Potentially, that could make Siri a more essential companion for resolving debates at the water cooler.”

“The job postings, with the job title ‘Siri Software Engineer — Sports,’ are identical,” Snyder reports. “People chosen for the jobs will work at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.”

“‘The Siri team is looking for someone with a combination of strong technical skills, a desire to build exceptional customer features and a deep love of sports,’ Apple says in the job postings, which have gone live in the past two weeks. ‘We’re looking for the right person who can collaborate with other engineers in several technical areas to help build Siri’s knowledge of all things sports related. You should be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment with rapidly changing priorities, have a thirst for new technology and believe that managing your Fantasy Football team is as important as managing your 401(k),'” Snyder reports. “Artificial intelligence (AI) experience is a requirement for the job, the job postings say… [and] candidates must have an ‘encyclopedic knowledge of sports — and wish that Siri did as well.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri has already made tremendous strides in terms of sports. We can’t wait to see where she goes next!


  1. This is one thing I did not agree with in the Gruber interview. Siri is very weak. The majority of the time I have to ask questions two or more times. Another issue is answering basic questions. For example, Siri doesn’t know basic queries like, “Who was the first American President?” or spell “Tsunami”. These are extremely simple queries to answer, but what about a slightly more complex query like, “What are the polls for the Predential primaries in South Carolina?” Or “Who discovered gravity waves?” These are recent, in the mainstream news items that should be easily answered. It’s neat that Siri will be able to tell me who the linebacker on the ’85 Bears was, but general history, current events and spelling should be no-brainier priorities.

    1. Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface), being an ‘expert system’, traverses a massive database of information for anything related to the question asked. It then whittles down the discovered data to one entry then responds with that data within a sentence structure prescribed as appropriate.

      1) Did Siri understand the speech provided to it and properly translate it into a database query? (This is a Dragon/Nuance issue, not directly a Siri problem).
      2) Is there a best database entry related to the question?
      3) If there is no ideal matching database entry, is Siri choosing an inappropriate database entry for its response?
      4) Is Siri using inappropriate sentence structure when providing a specific response?

      What IS the full database Siri is traversing? I personally don’t know. The Wikipedia article about Siri provides a partial list.

      Because the nature of the database entries is significantly unpredictable, there has to be interpretation of a wide variety of data. Where the data within the database cannot be interpreted by Siri, that data either has to be reentered in a format Siri can comprehend, or that source of data has to be bypassed and a new data source created that is suitable of use by Siri.

      Clearly, Apple isn’t finding sports data resources available to Siri to be adequate. Therefore, Apple is creating its own database.

      I suspect this is part of a much larger project of database refinement and expansion. Sports happens to be a massive set of ever increasing and changing data. I would imagine similar database refinement and expansion for a huge number of other subjects, from cosmetics to open source beta projects to celebrity gossip.

      Clearly, the overall database is subject to human choices as to what data is included, how the data is provided and what data is not addressed or provided. IOW the overall database will never be complete or ‘perfect’. Like humans, the database will be full of contradictions, contention, error and insufficiency.

      BTW: One of the experts and pioneers regarding all this AI related technology was Marvin Minsky of MIT, who died a few weeks back. He made contributions to quite a few other fields as well.

    1. I used to ask Siri “when’s the next Jets game” and she gave me the answer i wanted (Winnipeg Jets). But now she has forgotten my team, and asks EVERY time “which Jets?” even though football season is over. Also, I often see that the initial translation of my requests is done correctly, but then the request is re-interpreted as if it was misheard, particularly in maps. Seems to have gotten dumber about some things.

  2. Siri must not be choosing the correct database. I asked the question who was the first US President several ways and it couldn’t find the answer in Wikipedia, Bing or other sources.

    I quit Siri and then asked again. This time, the only answer was an incomplete Wikipedia response pointing to a list of US Presidents.

    But that last time, no Bing or Wolfram Alpha results were included. So, I hit the Wolfram Apple label in the list. Siri immeidistely answered “George Washington.”

    Submitted this anecdote to Apple Feedback page…

  3. She could tell me the 4 refs for the Manchester City vs Spurs game in the English Premier League played this morning. Fairly obscure I think. Probably good for a pint.

  4. Let’s be honest here. As it stands now, Siri, to not put too fine a point on it, sucks!
    However, if Apple were to pour even a small amount of it’s vast resources into it, to improve Siri and make it into something really great, Android would suffer…badly. To have a truly useful and powerful personal assistant in the palm of your hand? Wow. That would be a game-changer.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.