Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, May 29, 2009

iPhones will get very smart - Siri lifts veil on intelligent assistant

Mercury News - May 27, 2009, by Elise Ackerman

What could be one of the most significant advances in artificial intelligence in a decade is heading toward the iPhone App store this fall.

Siri, a San Jose company, announced Wednesday that it would offer an "intelligent agent" for Apple's iPhone that would, the company said, be able to find movie theaters, book restaurant reservations and airline flights, buy from online retail sites and even answer trivia questions like "How many calories are in a banana," all by understanding spoken commands.

Dag Kittlaus, CEO of Siri, which emerged from stealth mode to announce the product, said, "The future of search isn't search. It is a conversation with someone you trust."

Experts in artificial intelligence, or AI, say Siri will either be the first "intelligent agent" that responds to natural language — or the most recent failure in a series of spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to write software code that replicates some basic functions of the human brain.

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