How Apple finally made Siri sound more human

“The first time Alex Acero saw Her, he watched it like a normal person. The second time, he didn’t watch the movie at all,” David Pierce writes for Wired. “Acero, the Apple executive in charge of the tech behind Siri, sat there with his eyes closed, listening to how Scarlett Johansson voiced her artificially intelligent character Samantha. He paid attention to how she talked to Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and how Twombly talked back. Acero was trying to discern what about Samantha could make someone fall in love without ever seeing her.”

“When I ask Acero what he learned about why the voice worked so well, he laughs because the answer is so obvious,” Pierce writes. “‘It is natural!’ he says. ‘It was not robotic!’ This hardly counts as a revelation for Acero. Mostly, it confirmed that his team at Apple has spent the last few years on the right project: making Siri sound more human.”

“This fall, when iOS 11 hits millions of iPhones and iPads around the world, the new software will give Siri a new voice,” Pierce writes. “you’ll notice the difference. Siri now takes more pauses in sentences, elongates syllables right before a pause, and the speech lilts up and down as it speaks. The words sound more fluid and Siri speaks more languages, too. It’s nicer to listen to, and to talk to… Acero and his team think they’ve taken a giant leap forward. And they believe firmly that if they can make Siri sound less like a robot and more like someone you know and trust, they can make Siri great even when it fails. And that, in these early days of AI and voice technology, might be the best-case scenario.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri in iOS 11 is better in every way over iOS 10’s version:

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SEE ALSO:
Why I’m expecting big things for Apple’s Siri – September 5, 2017

16 Comments

    1. misdirecting massive efforts (resources) to sound more human is very misguided mr cook, glad you’re not commander of nuclear submarine, people talk in explicit deep terms, shortcuts to ensure operational accuracy and eliminate doubt in complex communication and interactions. give us clear instructions rather than trying to be dave in 2001.

    1. I like smart girls that communicate well. Right now Siri is neither and the new Siri’s sounds like a so-so upgrade in re: to smarts. I guess she missed summer school (again).

    2. The contextual / grammatical comprehension of text-to-voice systems (which is what we’re actually talking about here) remains primitive. As I often point out, the lack of full understanding of English grammar is an excellent indication that we still have NOT created ‘artificial intelligence’. We simply have increasingly sophisticated ‘expert systems’ that still need a lot more expertise.

    1. Tim, Chris: please see Steve’s comment. Now that Eddy’s not in charge of Siri, the shroud’s covering will reveal the important reality. Please figure out the form vs function thing.

        1. I like smart girls that communicate well. Right now Siri is neither and the new Siri’s sounds like a so-so upgrade in re: to smarts. I guess she missed summer school (again).

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