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Apple’s Digital Voice Assistant Siri Marks 10th Anniversary

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Apple’s voice assistant Siri turns ten today.

The Apple voice assistant was originally integrated into the iPhone 4S way back in October 2011, and we’re now here to wish Siri a very happy 10th birthday. Phil Schiller called it “the coolest feature of the new iPhone 4S.”

“Because for decades, technologists have teased us with this dream that you’re gonna be able to talk to technology and they’ll do things for us,” he said. “Haven’t we seen this before? Over and over, but it never comes true.”

“We have very limited capability,” he continued. “Just learn a syntax, call a name, dial a number, play a song. It is such a letdown.”

Siri evolved from a US government project to create a cognitive assistant that could learn and organize, notes The Verge. On iPhone, it actually started out as a third-party app primarily for guiding you to entertainment and making reservations. Apple took a shine to it, bought it in late April 2010, and then fused Siri to iOS for the launch of the iPhone 4s.

Siri then stunned the world, leading to the competition frantically making their own equivalents, which, of course, later blazed past Siri because they had more data.

The Verge‘s James Vincent touches on Siri’s dysfunction, noting that every iPhone user has had issues with the digital assistant over the past decade:

Everyone who uses Siri has their own tales of frustration — times when they’ve been surprised not by the intelligence but the stupidity of Apple’s assistant, when it fails to carry out a simple command or mishears a clear instruction. And while voice interfaces have indeed become widespread, Apple, despite being first to market, no longer leads. Its “humble personal assistant” remains humble indeed: inferior to Google Assistant on mobile and outmaneuvered by Amazon’s Alexa in the home.

As for Apple, it’s expanded Siri with new capabilities, on-device learning, and contextual awareness regarding what you do in order to anticipate apps you’d like to launch or information you’d find useful, among other improvements.

Whatever happens next, it’s clear Siri is going nowhere and the next 10 years should be quite promising for how voice assistants can help us out in making life easier. Now if only Siri could understand half our commands…

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