Despite significant flaws in how Siri is designed, according to the New York Times, Apple is testing generative AI ideas that may eventually find their way into the virtual assistant.
At Apple’s annual AI summit last month, staff members reportedly received briefings on the company’s massive language model and other AI capabilities. According to reports, Apple employees, including those on the Siri team, have been trying language-generation ideas “every week” in reaction to the popularity of chatbots like ChatGPT.
The paper explains that these next-generation AI technologies have shown how voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and others have squandered their advantage in the AI race. Particularly Siri has encountered numerous obstacles that have prevented substantive advancements. John Burkey, a former Apple engineer who worked on Siri and was given the task of enhancing it in 2014, said to the New York Times that the voice assistant is based on “clunky code that required weeks to update with basic functionality.”
The “cumbersome design” made it extremely challenging for engineers to add new functions. For instance, Siri’s database is “one giant snowball” and has a substantial collection of phrases in around two dozen different languages. Burkey noted that if someone wished to contribute a term to Siri’s database, “it goes in one big lump.”
The entire Siri database must be rebuilt in order to make simple adjustments like adding new phrases to the data set, which might take up to six weeks. It can take up to a year to add more difficult features like additional search tools.
Burkey thinks that because of this, Siri never had a chance to develop into a “creative assistant” like ChatGPT. This week, OpenAI unveiled GPT-4, their next-generation AI engine, enabling ChatGPT to provide even more sophisticated responses.
According to an article published last week by DigiTimes, prominent corporations like Apple, Meta, and Amazon are rethinking how they create their technology in response to the increased interest in generative AI spurred by ChatGPT. These businesses reportedly work to prevent Microsoft from keeping the lead in AI. Particularly Apple and Tesla are reportedly rethinking their approach to AI.