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aostling
10-13-2011, 07:41 PM
I don't even own a cellphone, and I am not a candidate for the new iPhone 4S. But it has some intriguing technology, in particular Siri, a voice which can sound almost human in her responses to plainly stated questions. From http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/12/technology/personaltech/iphone-4s-conceals-sheer-magic-pogue.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=iphone%204s&st=cse


Siri is billed as a virtual assistant: a crisply accurate, astonishingly understanding, uncomplaining, voice-commanded minion. No voice training or special syntax is required; you don’t even have to hold the phone up to your head. You just hold down the phone’s Home button until you hear a double beep, and then speak casually.

Siri can be tripped up, so this is not passing the Turing Test. But it is further in that direction than I would have expected.

Doonesbury mentions Siri in his strip for 13 October:

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Screenshot2011-10-13at44126PM.png

Do any of you have an iPhone 4S, to comment?

Evan
10-13-2011, 08:23 PM
I would like to try it but I don't know anybody with an iPhone of any model. I don't think they work here.

Here is something interesting.


"So, 24 years ago, Apple predicted a complex natural-language voice assistant built into a touchscreen Apple device, and was less than a month off," it said.

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/234420/technology/siri-arrives-24-years-after-apple-prediction

macona
10-13-2011, 11:44 PM
The iphone has not shipped yet.

I might get one later on. If I bought one I could probably sell my current iPhone 4 for as much as I have to pay for the new one. The new phone has some pretty decent specs, over twice as fast as the old one, does 1080p video with a new 8mp back thinned camera that is supposed to be 75% more sensitive than the old one. The lens is pretty amazing, really, 5 elements and a f2.8 aperture.

Bill736
10-14-2011, 12:31 AM
Accurate, understanding, noncomplaining.....how can this voice be called
"her" ?

DFMiller
10-14-2011, 01:05 AM
Evan,
There are lots of iPhone around.
But your right if I recall nothing works at your place. ;-)
It a disappointment that Siri will not work on ipad2 as it's the same hardware. Hopefully that will change.
It will be so cool to say, send a note to Sir John. Clumsy Bast***d
Dave

macona
10-14-2011, 01:37 AM
Wont work on the 4 either. Betting there is a ASIC to help do the job.

Evan
10-14-2011, 02:05 AM
I will be very surprised if the speech recognition works well with my voice. For some reason every speech recognition program has a very low accuracy with my voice, even after custom training. I do have a low pitched voice and sing bass. I also copy the accent of whomever I am talking to, completely unintentionally.

That really doesn't bother me though as I do not like speaking to a machine. I don't believe in anthropomorphizing machines. Doing so tends to lead to expecting rational behavior and machines are not rational, only formally logical. Rationality directly implies the ability to reason, something machines are still not capable of doing.

I never give machines personal names and I discouraged my customers from doing so.

I also doubt that the "AI" is very good. Even the very best winners each year from the Turing competition are trivial to distinguish from a human even when the conversation is tightly bounded by subject. I can throw any of them in to nonsense within a few sentences.

DFMiller
10-14-2011, 09:50 AM
Evan,
I was reading and article about Siri and it suggested that the voice recognition portion was done by the application Dragon speak. I have it on my IPad and the short test I did was rather disappointing.
I also use Macdictate from time to time and have decent results. Its not available on IOS devices but i think has some connection with DragonSpeak. But it's far from natural speech.
It will be interesting what the reviews say as time goes on.

Dave

SmoggyTurnip
10-14-2011, 01:10 PM
I have the iphone 3Gs. I have the google app on it. I find its voice recognition to work almost perfectly for me. I believe it records my words and then sends the mp3 (or something similar) to the cloud for processing. However I am not sure about this.

I do think it is a great app for the phone because typing on the phone can be difficult at times, especially when i don't have my glasses with me. I was skeptical at first because I have tried other speech recognition software years ago and thought it was horrible, but I use the app with confidence now.

DFMiller
10-14-2011, 01:24 PM
ST,
Which google App?
I understood that the App store (Apple) used to have an app but when Apple bought Siri it disappeared.

Thanks
Dave

ckelloug
10-14-2011, 02:22 PM
Hi Guys,

I work for the company that built Siri, SRI International, although I am only close enough to it that I know people who know people that worked on it. We got briefed by the Siri folks two years ago in a division meeting and staff members with iPhones were invited to participate in a closed beta.

Siri was based on work SRI did for the DARPA CALO program. It's a combination of voice recognition and artificial intelligence language parsing. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CALO

I do remember from the Siri demo I saw that on the surface it seemed to work pretty well. They also had a web version at that time that used typed text rather than voice recognition. I thought it was pretty cool when I saw it.

Nothing else I know about the program is of interest here.

--Cameron

achtanelion
10-14-2011, 02:25 PM
Of course, there are a few problems with Siri....

http://fastcache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/10/xlarge_siri-big.jpg

Just something to think about... ;-)

J

DFMiller
10-14-2011, 02:30 PM
Cameron,
Thanks for that info. You can't trust most of what you read. ;-)
I will check your link out.
Dave

danlb
10-14-2011, 04:34 PM
A while back the apple MAC came with a voice recognition program installed. It was active by default. I heard you could identify the mac users in an office by yelling out the shutdown command.

Dan

macona
10-14-2011, 08:53 PM
There is a new site with is what supposedly Siri responds to for different questions. Someone has a sense of humor.


http://****thatsirisays.tumblr.com/

Edit: First four letters of the address are s h i t.

sansbury
10-14-2011, 10:42 PM
My CTO picked up his 4s this morning and we played with it a little. He asked it, "What is the best phone," and it replied, "The one you are holding."

Jokes aside, it worked very well for things like "find me a good Chinese restaurant nearby." It returned a list of restaurants within a mile sorted by their rating (from the site Yelp). I generally hate voice control, but this actually felt *really* useful, doubly so if you're driving.

The big part of this is that this is going to steer a lot of traffic away from Google.

x39
10-14-2011, 10:54 PM
Accurate, understanding, noncomplaining.....how can this voice be called
"her" ?
Ditto that brother! LOL!

Evan
10-14-2011, 11:48 PM
Wait and see. It may crash and sulk without apparent reason.

I wonder what happens if you ask it "What's the matter?"

Does it answer "Nothing's the matter. Every thing is just fine"?

danlb
10-15-2011, 12:33 AM
I thought it did more than that. My android has been doing that for over a year. Google search will take voice input and it's quite accurate.

Oh well. More hype.

Dan

Evan
10-15-2011, 12:39 AM
but this actually felt *really* useful, doubly so if you're driving.

It had better be able to hear your voice sitting on the seat or dash. Here it is illegal to be using any electronic device held in your hand while driving. Note: That doesn't apply to a plain microphone such as on a CB radio.

sansbury
10-15-2011, 03:10 PM
I thought it did more than that. My android has been doing that for over a year. Google search will take voice input and it's quite accurate.

Oh well. More hype.


Google's voice recognition is good, but this feels different, and deeper. This thing does more than convert speech to text--it understands a lot of the *meaning* of what you said.

At a simple level, it's things like understanding that "near me" means "sort results by distance from current GPS coordinates," which is easy by itself, but the Siri/Apple team seems to have covered an awful lot more of that territory than previous attempts. Most of the examples I threw at it came back with useful results.

This review gives a good flavor of it with a bunch of examples.

http://daringfireball.net/2011/10/iphone_4s

We've been promised the ability to talk to our computer for at least 25 years, and every time it's been a gimmick, and a bad one at that. This is the first one I've tried that felt stronger the more I used it.

danlb
10-15-2011, 03:33 PM
I guess it all depends on what you are used to. I've been saying things to my phone l like "coffeshop near me" and "Nearest gas station" and "Call home" for over a year. It always works well. I do have to look at the screen to pick the one I want, but that sounds like the same as Siri.

Reading that review, it seems like Siri is cool, but not much different than what I'm using. I can't ask 'when was my last haircut', but I can live without that. :)

lazlo
10-15-2011, 03:51 PM
Google's voice recognition is good, but this feels different, and deeper. This thing does more than convert speech to text--it understands a lot of the *meaning* of what you said.

UPS delivered my 4s yesterday evening. I haven't had a lot of time to play with Siri, but its pretty interesting. The voice recognition doesn't work very well. Well, it works as well as iOS 4 -- you have to talk slow, and precisely enunciate your words.

So "Where am I?" was recognized as: "I'm sorry, I don't understand your question: Where..."

"Where.... Am..... I...." -- is correctly recognized, and brings up the GPS.

"What is Nvidia's price?" is recognized as: "Doing a Google search on 'invidious'"

The other, more irritating thing is that apparently the Siri queries are sent to a server, which processes the response and downloads it. So half the time I try to run Siri, it doesn't respond for 30 seconds, the microphone icon spins, and eventually I get: "Can't connect to the Siri server..."

This is at home with the phone connected to my Wifi, so it's not an AT&T connectivity issue. I guess Apple's Siri servers are being pounded by people asking where they are :D

Update: my Son just came in the room, and said: "Dad, can I hold this?"

Siri: "Sorry, I don't understand: 'Dad can I hold this?'"

lazlo
10-15-2011, 04:00 PM
I just did the "When was my last haircut?' query. Now that I've figured out that you need to talk slowly, it recognized the query, but it's not as contextually smart as that Fanboy article would lead you to believe:

Siri: 30 second pause: "I don't see any meetings about 'haircut'"


"Play something by the Rolling Stones."

Siri: 30 second pause: ""Sorry, I am having trouble connecting to the network"

According to the MacRumors forums, everyone's having the same problem:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1252501

I submitted this screenshot to Macona's Siri site, think they'll post it? :p

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Siri.jpg

lazlo
10-15-2011, 04:58 PM
Finally got through for another Siri query. I submitted this too :)

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/Siri2.jpg

SmoggyTurnip
10-17-2011, 08:42 AM
ST,
Which google App?
I understood that the App store (Apple) used to have an app but when Apple bought Siri it disappeared.

Thanks
Dave

The app is called "Google Search" and it is still available for free.

DFMiller
10-17-2011, 11:46 AM
Thanks ST,
Found it.
Thanks
Dave