Apple Wins Patent for a Highly Advanced Version of Siri

A series of newly granted Apple patents have been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office today, with one of the patents covering a powerful new invention that could apply to a future version of Siri, designed to work with distributed sensors place throughout a user’s home or office, PatentlyApple is reporting. The source notes that the invention generally relates to a method for building an ‘intelligent automated assistant’.

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Apple describes that intelligent automated assistants are capable of interacting with humans, such as by observing user behaviour and anticipating what a user may need. In order to accomplish these objectives, intelligent automated assistants integrate a variety of capabilities provided by different software components. Apple’s invention details the apparatus for building such a system. Embodiments of Apple’s invention rely on the concept of “active ontologies” to build and run applications for use by intelligent automated assistants.

“Apple notes that the active ontology is tailored to a specific context. For example, the active ontology may be adapted to remind a user to take medication after meals, where at least some of the input facts relate to events collected from the user’s surrounding environment (e.g., “the user is in the kitchen”, “the user is eating”, “the time is 8:00 AM”, etc.) and at least one of the actions is produced in response to these facts (e.g., prompting the user to take the medication at the appropriate time).

Although the active ontology is configured to manage activity and time recognition tasks, those skilled in the art will appreciate that similarly constructed active ontologies may be built for natural language recognition, task automation and other useful tasks. In general, the same structure or rule or set of rules can be used both to observe and understand the surrounding world and to act on such observations.”

The patent was originally filed by Apple in Q3 2006 and credits Adam Cheyer and Didier Guzzoni as the inventors.

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