Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Siri All Grown Up

Calling all iPhone users! Your trusty sidekick, Siri, has a message for you all! She is all grown up now! Thats right! Siri has now officially been deemed by Apple to be all "grown up", or in other words, completed. Many of us iPhone users believed our assistive AI friend to be working fine and already and had no more real room for improvement. Well, as luck would have it we were wrong!

So for those of us who may not know who or what Siri is, she is the artificially intelligent assistive voice command software installed with the Apple iPhone 3GS, and every other Apple mobile device to come thereafter. Now what could be a clearer designation of this software being "finished", when we already thought it was? The absence of the word "Beta" from the bottom of Siri's page on the Apple website is pretty clear sign. That and the fact that Siri now has more intuitive applications by means of integrating Twitter and Wikipedia for its search results is also a very nice new touch to see from our old friend.

So far, this new version of Siri is shaping up to be a very nice upgrade from her previous capabilities, but I suppose I should just say "she", because iPhone owners will now be able to pick the gender of Siri as well. With all of the updates that have come through with Siri and iOS7, it is pretty safe to say that Apple is still pushing the top of the tech food chain. "Simplicity" and "easy to use" have always been phrases that Apple means to adhere to, and Siri is no exception. For fans and new comers alike, Siri is at your service.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Real Life Emoticons

There has been a consistent problem with sending texts messages to your friends and loved one this day in age. It is not always easy to understand how a text should be understood, or what type of emotion it is trying to convey. Now the help of "emoji's" in text messages, or smiley faces, it is easy to convey emotion. Sometimes it is just not enough though. Well that is where a research team at the University of Cambridge that is hard at work trying to make sure that this because a worry of the past.

The University is actually working to make spoken text evoke emotions through a visual 3D avatar of yourself speaking it with the desired emotion attached to the speech. Sounds crazy right? In a video demonstrating the use of the program though, it seemed to work out very well, considering the stage of development it is still in. The University issued a statement further explaining how the use of the emotion sliders could be used in conjunction with one another to add an almost infinite realm of emotions to the speech. The actress who performed all of the some 7,000 sentences in the dialogue capture, is named Zoe, and her avatar is hoping to be the face of the new AI assistants that are coming too nearly every mobile gadget nowadays.

With Siri still holding the hierarchy position of 
everyone's favorite digital helper, it will be hard to spearhead through the competition. The research this team is conducting has the ability to change the way we text and evoke emotion electronically forever. It is really shaping up to be something that could work with Apple and Siri as well, should the circumstances permit. Plus having a digitized version of your face as a personal assistant or as a means to just have the person you are texting see your facial features while the assistant is saying them with the implied emotion could be very cool!... Or very creepy. Either way, keep an eye out for this software in the future as it will definitely be game changing!
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