Apple acquires AI startup Voysis to bolster Siri

Apple has acquired Voysis, an artificial intelligence startup that developed a platform for digital voice assistants to better understand people’s natural language, according to Bloomberg News.

Apple acquires Voysis to bolster Apple's Siri
Apple’s Siri
Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

Voysis’s system taps into Wavenets, an AI-based method for creating more human-like computer speech that was first developed by Google’s DeepMind in 2016. Voysis co-founder Peter Cahill said in 2018 that his company managed to shrink its system to the point where, once the AI is trained, the software uses as little as 25 megabytes of memory — about the same size as four Apple Music songs. That made it much easier to run on smartphones without an internet connection.

Apple could use the acquired know-how improve Siri’s understanding of natural language or to offer the Voysis platform to thousands of developers that already integrate with the Apple digital assistant.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri is miles better in recent years, but still sometimes struggles to understand what we’re asking for when we request very specific songs from HomePod. This sounds like something Voysis’ tech could improve.

7 Comments

  1. “Sometimes struggles?” The Siri system consistently fails to meet my expectations. Even dictation somehow gets messed up. How can it show exactly what you say (e.g., “Hey Siri, call John Smith”) but then instead of calling that precisely-named contact, ask, “Just to confirm, you’d like to call Mike Adams?” And if I correct something, why can’t it learn and not repeat the same mistake every time? Also, even the wake phrase doesn’t seem to work probably 25% of the time. And if there’s someone else’s device around, well of course -all- devices must start executing what they think you asked. There are a few areas where Apple tech is great. Siri is not one of them.

  2. Q. What can flip a proud Capitalist into a begging Socialist?
    A. A failing business model during a widespread emergency.

    Good acquisition by Apple.

  3. I wonder if the acquisition with help Siri’s sister, Sorry, with auto-correct and suggesting what the correct word might be with the skill on par with Google?

    It’s not an infrequent, when drafting a doc, that I dash to The Google for it’s excellent perception and intuition re: word suggestion. Apple’s auto-correct and “pro-active dictionary” is simply 10 yrs behind. It’s really quite inexcusable, esp as Cook claims his appreciation for the future tech (AR, VR, etc).

  4. A practical comparison of Siri versus Google Assistant:

    Question: “How long does it take to fly from Los Angeles to Honolulu?”

    Siri: “One possibility I see is Fly Foods on Martin Luther King boulevard in Fort Myers. Would you like to try that one?” After I answered “No,” Siri suggested other businesses with the word “fly” in their name. Important note— Siri’s voice recognition output on the screen was perfect. But did it understand the question? Not even close!!

    Rephrase question: “How long does it take to fly from Los Angeles California to Honolulu Hawaii?”

    Siri: “I found some information about that. Take a look…” It then showed a chart how much time it would take to transverse that distance with:
    1. a jet aircraft
    2. via the speed of sound
    3. via light in a fiber
    4. via light in a vacuum

    Although a bit better, it still shows Siri does not really understand the question. However, it’s a step better from what Siri used to say: “I can’t plot routes over water.”

    Now, let’s try Google Assistant…

    Question: “How long does it take to fly from Los Angeles to Honolulu?”

    Google Assistant: “Nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Honolulu are about 5 hours 45 minutes long. There are between four and nine flights a day.” It then went on to list a number of available flights.

    Now THAT is an intelligent answer! Not only did it correctly understand my question, it also provided additional, and useful information. In comparison, Siri remains incomprehensibly stupid! I disagree that Siri “is miles better in recent years.” Siri has always been and continues to remain utterly stupid! In fact, other than for the simplest of tasks, like setting a timer, I find Siri to be almost useless.

      1. That’s the very list I quoted. It contains a lot of useless info and the map contributes nothing. The answer from Google Assistant is vastly superior.

Reader Feedback

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