Siri co-founder and former CEO Dag Kittlaus recently sat down with Bloomberg to discuss the sale of the AI assistant to Apple and the future of personal assistant technology.
In a new interview from Bloomberg, Kittlaus says that he “would have liked to see Siri evolve to doing more things, greater capabilities to become a bigger part of your life.”
The AI assistant technology was purchased by Apple back in 2010, and the company’s then-CEO, the late Steve Jobs, apparently wasn’t too happy with the name “Siri.”
“I worked with a lady named Siri in Norway and wanted to name my daughter Siri and the domain was available,” Kittlaus said. “And also consumer companies need to focus on the fact that the name is easy to spell, easy to say.” “Siri” means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” in Norwegian, apparently, making it a surprisingly strong name for an Apple product.
Kittlaus also discussed whether or not he believes Siri has lived up to its expectations since being purchased by the Cupertino company in 2010:
On the positive side, it’s gotten a lot faster, the speech recognition got a lot better. I would have liked to see Siri evolve to doing more things, greater capabilities to become a bigger part of your life merely because it’s doing so many more things for you.
That was really the idea for the next company that we started, was how do we make it go from, not a novelty, but from a basic utility in your life to something much bigger, a paradigm in itself that you are really relying on in your everyday world.
Kittlaus believes that Siri had much more potential than what it has currently become, explaining that Apple has a different focus on the product that he had originally intended:
To some extent, but I just think they had a different focus from where we started it originally. I would have liked to see Apple open up to a third party ecosystem much earlier. That’s something that we are doing now. We think that is the big missing piece.
The Apple app store is actually a perfect metaphor for this. The iPhone actually launched in 2007 with just a few Apple apps on it, weather and some very basic things. When the app store opened and unleashed the creativity of the developers around the world that changed the world.
After Apple’s purchase of Siri in 2010, Kittlaus became the head of Apple‘s speech recognition team until late 2011 after the launch of the iPhone 4S. He’s since left the company on amicable terms.