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Apple’s 25 year-old concept finally realised in Siri ‘intelligent assistant’

Apple’s 25 year-old concept finally realised in Siri ‘intelligent assistant’
darren.mccarra@sociable.co'

Among a slew of reports flooding from Apple’s iPhone event this evening lies one of their most important announcements in recent years – Siri. Siri is an all-new intelligent voice-control feature in iOS5 and will be available on the forthcoming iPhone 4S. But Siri isn’t strictly a new concept at Apple. Siri’s vision was originally devised almost 25 years ago by Apple and was known as Knowledge Navigator.

With Siri, iPhone 4S users pose questions to their device out loud. Siri makes sense of this verbal input and presents results and performs relevant tasks accordingly. The system can then itself respond verbally back to the user to confirm, clarify or disambiguate actions – something which is remarkably similar to the original Knowledge Navigator concept.

Task examples include organising meetings, checking the weather in any location or querying Wikipedia. Here’s Apple’s contemporary realisation of Knowledge Navigator:

View Comments (28)

28 Comments

  1. seanearley3@gmail.com'

    seanear1ey

    October 4, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    The whole thing creeps me right out. People look mental enough as it is when they’re on headphones having actual conversations with other people but talking to your phone and having it answer you is ridiculous. I really don’t like this at all…

    • darrenmccarra@gmail.com'

      darrenmccarra

      October 4, 2011 at 11:35 PM

      @seanear1ey I see what you mean. Maybe the phone responding verbally is a bit out there. Still, it’s probably useful to select groups of people – visually impaired, people with stubby fingers…

    • isaac@conceptual.ly'

      cncptually

      October 5, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      come on this is the opposite of creepy. Being able to tell your phone something and have it respond it convenient and in 5 years it will be standard on all phones.

  2. seanearley3@gmail.com'

    seanear1ey

    October 4, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    The whole thing creeps me right out. People look mental enough as it is when they’re on headphones having actual conversations with other people but talking to your phone and having it answer you is ridiculous. I really don’t like this at all…

    • darrenmccarra@gmail.com'

      darrenmccarra

      October 4, 2011 at 11:35 PM

      @seanear1ey I see what you mean. Maybe the phone responding verbally is a bit out there. Still, it’s probably useful to select groups of people – visually impaired, people with stubby fingers…

    • isaac@conceptual.ly'

      cncptually

      October 5, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      come on this is the opposite of creepy. Being able to tell your phone something and have it respond it convenient and in 5 years it will be standard on all phones.

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darren.mccarra@sociable.co'
@darrenmccarra

Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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