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How Apple Sees the Near Future

6 June 2017

From The Atlantic:

Without once saying the words “artificial intelligence,” a stream of Apple executives described a vision of the near future in which Siri, the company’s AI avatar, stitches together the company’s many hardware products.

And they introduced a new—and widely anticipated—entry into their lineup: a $349 cylindrical voice-controlled speaker they call HomePod.

After a strangely dystopian video in which Apple’s apps go away and the world plunges into post-apocalyptic violence, Apple CEO Tim Cook led off the company’s keynote at its big gathering for coders, the Worldwide Developers Conference, in San Jose.

The WWDC keynote tends to be a place where Apple showcases all the little incremental “refinements” they are making to their software and hardware. This year, however, there was a thread that ran through many presentations: Siri.

Through the demonstrations and talks, Apple’s vision for Siri became clearer: It is an all-purpose stand-in for predictive, helpful intelligence across all Apple devices. “Siri isn’t just a voice assistant,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “With Siri intelligence, it understands context. It understands your interests. It understands how you use your device. It understands what you want next.”

For example, Federighi said, imagine you’re planning a trip to Iceland. Siri might suggest stories about Iceland within the news app or even suggest the spelling for a difficult Icelandic place name. (Perhaps she’ll suggest some Björk for your HomePod, even.)

Link to the rest at The Atlantic


9 Comments to “How Apple Sees the Near Future”

  1. Hmm… am I the only person who immediately disables Siri on any device under my control?

    I used to do the same thing with the Paperclip in Microsoft Word.

    • I have had a Mac for the last twenty years (thanks to my wife wha had one even before). No iPad, no iPhone however (just an old Nokia dumbphone).
      I will leave the environnment the day they try to oblige me to “integrate” everything with an AI.

    • Felix J. Torres

      I disable all assistants and auto-corruption functions.
      I usually know what I want to do and how to it. Otherwise I know to find out what I need.
      Current faux-AI tech has a long way to go before it can add any value to my systems.

  2. “… cylindrical voice-controlled speaker …”

    And next year they’ll sue Amazon for copying the shape of the cylinder.

    And as Tony said, killing all the overly unhelpful bits is my first steps in setting up any new computer device.

  3. I had a dumb phone with buttons that gave tactile feel. I knew how to use it. Last month my wife bought me a smart phone. I have trouble answering the damned thing. And when an alarm goes off, I can’t shut it off. I hate the damned thing.

    • “can’t shut off the alarm” – I had this same problem with my cheap android phone. Here’s what I finally figured out.

      Open the “clock” app.

      In the bottom right, you’ll see 3 vertical dots (or something) that is the “settings” menu. Or there’s a settings menu somewhere associated with this app. open it.

      You do not see all the settings. scroll down (by swiping up) until you see one that says “volume buttons” – change this setting to “dismiss”.

      Now, when an alarm goes off you just squeeze the volume buttons on the phone and it will go away.

  4. Al the Great and Powerful

    This view of siri is just creepy and off-putting… I don’t LIKE any of the ways Apple tries to organize things, why on EARTH would I want an Apple predictive assistant?

    • I don’t want either of the offerings.

      What people don’t seem to realize is that a device that “activates” when it hears a specific word, is still listening to every single thing said in its vicinity.

      Why would I allow major corporations (and whoever else is tapped into their systems) to have a bug in my house, or even accompanying me wherever I go?

      • Felix J. Torres

        Do you own a cellphone?
        If you do, there’s your bug.

        Privacy is an illusion.
        Good news is only interesting people have anything to fear from digital intrusion.
        Me, I’m safe. I’m too boring for NSA or the Russians to bother with me.

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