Skip to Content

Apple Looks to Improve Siri’s Script

“Character-driven dialogue” will help the virtual assistant evolve, says an Apple job ad.
January 15, 2013

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri may have its roots in a Pentagon-funded artificial intelligence research project, but algorithms aren’t everything and the Cupertino company is now turning to writers to make Siri smarter. A job ad posted by Apple on LinkedIn appeals for:

“[S]omeone who combines a love for language, wordplay, and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative content to life within an intense technical environment.”

They’ll need “experience in writing character-driven dialog”, a good vocabulary, and ideally knowledge of more than one language. The end result, says the ad, will “evolve and enrich Siri…known for ‘her’ wit, cultural knowledge, and zeal to explain things in engaging, funny, and practical ways.”

Many of the changes Apple made to Siri when it bought the technology from the startup of the same name were in a similar vein. As my colleague Will Knight wrote in an in depth look at how Siri is designed: “Siri may not be the smartest AI in the world but it’s the most socially adept.” Giving the system a style that suggests tact, charm, and even wit makes its limitations and errors easier to bear (see “Social Intelligence”).

That approach isn’t unique to Apple. In recent years winners of the Loebner Prize, in which chatbots try to convince judges they are human, have often been those that use relatively simple tactics focused on humor and mimicry rather than deep learning.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other
conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other

Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.