Siri LogoWired’s Robert McMillan recently wrote, “…neural network algorithms are hitting the mainstream, making computers smarter in new and exciting ways. Google has used them to beef up Android’s voice recognition. IBM uses them. And, most remarkably, Microsoft uses neural networks as part of the Star-Trek-like Skype Translate, which translates what you say into another language almost instantly. People “were very skeptical at first,” Hinton says, “but our approach has now taken over.” One big-name company, however, hasn’t made the jump: Apple, whose Siri software is due for an upgrade. Though Apple is famously secretive about its internal operations–and did not provide comment for this article–it seems that the company previously licensed voice recognition technology from Nuance—perhaps the best known speech recognition vendor. But those in the tight-knit community of artificial intelligence researchers believe this is about to change. It’s clear, they say, that Apple has formed its own speech recognition team and that a neural-net-boosted Siri is on the way.”

The article also states, “Lee would know. Apple hired one of his top managers, Alex Acero, last year. Acero, now a senior director in Apple’s Siri group had put in nearly 20 years at Microsoft, researching speech technology. There he oversaw Li Deng and Dong Yu, the two Microsoft researcher[s] who invited Geoff Hinton to that conference in British Columbia. Apple has also poached speech researchers from Nuance, including Siri Manager Gunnar Evermann. Another speech research hire: Arnab Ghoshal, a researcher from the University of Edinburgh.”

 

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