The quest to build a better Siri

Yahoo investment smarter Siri

Since Marissa Mayer became CEO, Yahoo has been on a bit of a roll and has released several well-reviewed apps (Weather, News Digest, Sports, etc.) while also bringing Flickr back from irrelevance. According to MIT Technology Review, Yahoo has even bigger plans with its recent announcement that it is investing millions of dollars to develop a smarter Siri.

Siri is neat, but it admittedly has a lot of room for improvement. Not only could its data set improve, as Google Now has shown, it could also be more interactive. Fixing that is the goal of Yahoo’s $10 million grant to Carnegie Mellon University, home of one of the most respected computer science programs in the world. Right now, Siri can respond to basic questions and offer clever quips, but it is clearly limited.

To help fix this, Yahoo’s five-year project—called InMind—will give Carnegie Mellon researchers access to an impressive array of Yahoo’s services and data. They’ll be able to use the technology behind Yahoo Mail and Yahoo News, and they’ll also be able to test their ideas on Carnegia Mellon students and staff who give them access to their Yahoo accounts.

“InMind will be the next generation of personal agent that will guide us in our personal lives, on our personal devices,” said Subra Suresh, Carnegie Mellon’s president.

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