Siri has gotten a lot of competition since its debut in late 2011 in the form of Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana. Now it looks like Apple has started taking some more aggressive steps to make sure Siri keeps up with its other voice-enabled assistant rivals, as Wired reports that the company has been going on a big hiring spree aimed at improving Siri’s overall intelligence and reactivity.
According to Wired’s sources, it looks as though “Apple has formed its own speech recognition team and that a neural-net-boosted Siri is on the way.” Among other key personnel, Apple has hired longtime Microsoft speech recognition technology researcher Alex Acero to be a senior director at its Siri group; Gunnar Evermann, a former engineer at voice recognition software pioneer Nuance; and Arnab Ghoshal, who previously did voice tech research at the University of Edinburgh.
“Apple is not hiring only in the managerial level, but hiring also people on the team-leading level and the researcher level,” Abdel-rahman Mohamed, a researcher at the University of Toronto, tells Wired. “They’re building a very strong team for speech recognition research.”
What this means is it’s only a matter of time before Apple starts using neural nets to help bolster Siri’s intelligence, just as Google and Microsoft have done to bolster the intelligence of their own voice-enabled assistants.