Hey Siri, it’s over: Apple announces changes to its voice assistant

News hardware Hey Siri, it’s over: Apple announces changes to its voice assistant

Owners of Apple devices who are followers of the Siri voice assistant will probably have to change their habits in the years to come. Indeed, the American manufacturer intends to make some modifications concerning the way of communicating with its famous voice assistant.

“Hey Siri” is a beginning of sentence that owners of an iPhone know well : this is the command that triggers a reaction from Apple’s voice assistant. Since 2011, Siri responds to the voice of its “master” provided that it begins its sentence with “Hey Siri”, it’s as simple as that. However, it seems that today, it is no longer enough for the Cupertino company.

Apple’s “Hey Siri” will soon disappear

According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, Apple would have asked its engineers to work on an update of Siri. The main objective of the maneuver would be the following: allow users to activate the voice assistant by simply saying “Siri” and no longer “Hey Siri” or “Hey Siri” in its original English version.

An approach that may seem consistent: after all, Alexa at Amazon activates simply by saying “Alexa”. Google, for its part, decided years ago to remove its “Say Google” in favor of “Ok Google”. However, this does not mean that this desire to simplify the use of Siri does not represent a major technical challenge for Apple engineers.

That little word that locked Siri

The major challenge associated with this change is: how to make sure that Siri will not launch systematically when the user mentions his name, even without wanting to perform a voice search? Owners of an Amazon Echo speaker still often bear the brunt of this problem. Apple seeks to avoid it at all costs, and this goes through extensive machine learning work.

The voice assistant is currently “trained” internally at Apple, directly with its employees. The objective for the artificial intelligence is to understand when the name “Siri” is spoken orally in order to trigger a reaction from the device, all in more than 20 different languages ​​and with support for a maximum of accents. This is the sine qua non condition for Apple to be able to offer a new version of Siri without a “wake word” that does not go off indiscriminately throughout the day.

A Siri update that wouldn’t arrive for a long time

Because this learning work promises to be tedious, Apple would not consider deploying this new feature before the end of the year 2023, or even 2024 if the learning phase turns out to be longer than expected. In addition, the Cupertino company would also plan to bring Siri to more devices and third-party applications: we do not know which ones for the moment. What is certain is thatApple has great plans for Siri.

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Hey Siri, it’s over: Apple announces changes to its voice assistant

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