According to the New York Times, Apple is exploring generative AI ideas that may potentially be used in Siri, despite the underlying problems with the virtual assistant’s architecture.
At Apple’s annual AI summit last month, employees were allegedly briefed on the company’s big language model and other AI tools. Members of the Siri team, as well as other Apple engineers, have reportedly been testing language-generation concepts on a weekly basis in response to the emergence of chatbots like ChatGPT.
These new AI technologies have shed light on how Siri, Alexa, and other voice assistants have fallen behind in the AI race. The report goes on to explain that Siri, in particular, has encountered numerous obstacles in making significant improvements. Former Apple engineer John Burkey, who was tasked with enhancing Siri in 2014, told the New York Times that the voice assistant is constructed with cumbersome code that requires weeks to update with basic features.
Siri’s clunky design posed a significant challenge for engineers in terms of incorporating new features. For instance, the voice assistant’s database contains an extensive list of phrases in nearly 20 languages, which creates a “massive snowball” effect, according to Burkey.
If someone wants to include a new term in Siri’s database, it would be added to a single, enormous pile. Consequently, even minor updates, such as adding new phrases to the database, necessitates rebuilding the entire system, which could take up to six weeks. More complex enhancements, such as new search tools, could take up to a year to implement.
Burkey believes that due to these limitations, Siri does not have the potential to become a “creative assistant” like ChatGPT. OpenAI’s recent announcement of GPT-4, their next-generation AI engine, which promises even more advanced responses from ChatGPT, only underscores this point.
According to a recent report from DigiTimes, the rising interest in generative AI triggered by ChatGPT has prompted major companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Meta to reassess their approach to developing this technology. These companies are reportedly making efforts to catch up to Microsoft’s lead in AI. In particular, Apple and Tesla are said to be reconsidering their AI strategies.
Meanwhile, it is worth noting that Google has integrated AI-powered capabilities into Google Workspace to enhance the writing experience for its users. These functionalities enable the quick creation and editing of drafts, thereby streamlining the writing process.