Because the new head of THE Apple will improve Siri


Published on Jul 11, 2018


The question of “what will Apple John Giannandrea, former head of research and in Google?” there is only one answer for sure: “very“. Especially to improve Siri.

According to The Verge, John Giannandrea, recently hired at Apple as the new head of Machine Learning and AI, they can really significantly improve Siri in the coming months.

The role will be to supervise the team's two most important products of the IA on which he works, the Apple Core ML, and Siri. Core ML is the framework of machine learning designed for third-party apps and helps developers to manage more easily the tools of artificial intelligence on the iPhone.

Looking at the history of the new head of Apple, it's easy to grasp some of the recurring themes. Time and time again, Giannandrea has worked on technologies that provide for the processing of speech and text to provide information useful to users. In short, something very useful for Siri.

One of the first roles covered by Giannandrea was in a startup called TellMe, who ran a telephone line using the voice recognition to respond to users ' questions on the stock market and the weather.

Subsequently, he co-founded a company called Id Technologies, which he proposed as “database of the world's knowledge“. Google has purchased Id in 2010 and has integrated its technology in the Knowledge Graph, the boxes of information that appear when you ask a specific question on Google like “how old is Tim Cook?“. From 2015, these boxes respond to about a third of all search queries on Google. Giannandrea has also worked on RankBrain, which will help Google to answer a search query, never used before, and the Smart Reply, that suggests automatic replies to e-mails and texts.

In outline, all these jobs fall into the category of “natural language understanding” or NLU, a sub-field of artificial intelligence focused entirely on the to tell the computer the natural language of human beings.

All of this connects perfectly to Siri. In some ways, Siri is only a voice mail. When we use it, we are trying to retrieve information (what's the weather like tomorrow?) or run a command (remind me to call John). In both cases, it is requested to the computer to understand what we want and how to get what we need.

From this point of view, Siri is still very backward compared to Alexa and Google Assistant. And give the computer the ability to reorder information with the same attitude of a human being is a fundamental skill of the AI. And it is here that comes into play Giannandrea. According to all, he is extremely good in managing the pillars of artificial intelligence contemporary: to provide the best answers to the questions that we propose, allow us to ask new types of questions, allowing us to query the new data types (for example, audio, images and video, as well as words and numbers).

In an interview in 2017, Giannandrea called the NLU the “holy grail of artificial intelligence“, to talk about his admiration for Douglas Engelbart, an inventor who, in the ’60s, he developed many of the fundamental technologies that still we use today, such as the mouse and hypertext. The guiding principle of Engelbart was developing the technology that “would increase the human intelligence“.

Siri is still very limited, but the potential is enormous. Apple knows that you have to rely on the best and Giannandrea is the best in its field. The technology is made by man and is not born from nothing. For this, the choice of the Apple may really be the key to a Siri better.

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