You’re about to get your very own genie in a bottle. Simply talk into your iPhone and tell Siri what you want. Tickets for a show, reservations at a restaurant, a taxi to pick you up – the newest App can arrange to get you what you need. Best of all, Siri learns (with your permission) what you want, and gets better at understanding your commands. Just like a human assistant. Originally developed as part of DARPA’s CALO project, Siri represent more than five years of steady research and refinement. The App is sophisticated enough to filter through a sentence and identify the relevant key words and know which of its dozens of partnered APIs to engage. Want to find some live music in your area? Siri calls up LiveKick and understands to use GPS to determine what “in your area” means. It can handle most any command for six broad categories of interest: restaurants, movies, events, taxis, local information, and weather. In those fields, Siri can figure out what you want and how to get it for you. Best of all, the App is free. Look below for the cool demo video and a great interview of Siri founders by the Scobleizer himself.
There’s really no reason why you can’t do what Siri does all on your own. Want a restaurant review? Go to Yelp. Want a movie ticket? Go to MovieTickets.com. This isn’t hard, it’s just tedious. That’s what personal assistants are for, and Siri is an amazing personal assistant. It can understand complicated commands that use unspecific key words. “I’d like a PG-13 movie near my house that’s funny and romantic.” Siri can handle that by using its patented algorithm to learn how to translate words and phrases into actionable commands. Right now Siri is still a little awkward, they say so directly on the website, but it learns and improves upon its understanding of how you command it.
In other words, Siri’s an astounding technology that’s going to get even better the more you use it. The Siri company has more than $24 million in funding and has plans to expand to include reminders, flight stats, reference questions, and many more tasks. The App is currently only available for iPhone 3GS with OS 3.1, but it will eventually be offered for iPod Touch, iPhone 3G, and other smart phones. Hopefully it will also expand beyond English and the US. This is really a phenomenal App. An AI assistant on your iPhone. Remarkable.
[screen capture credit: Siri]