Apple just bought a startup that could make Siri more like a real person

Apple just acquired VocalIQ — a startup based in the United Kingdom that makes artificial intelligence software for processing natural language, The Financial Times reports.

Little else is known about the deal, such as how much Apple paid for the company. Apple issued the Financial Times the same comment it typically shares when it’s acquired a company:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

It sounds like VocalIQ’s technology could greatly improve Siri.

The company specialises in natural language processing, which means its product makes it easier for computers to understand your speech the same way another human would. In other words, it could make for an even further improved Siri.

But it’s not just about recognising speech. VocalIQ says its product can help applications learn more about you the more you use them. This, in turn, would make Siri smarter about the various apps and contacts she suggests to you.

Here’s what VocalIQ says on its website when describing its technology:

Every time your application is used it gets a little bit smarter. Previous conversations are central to it’s learning process – allowing the system to better understand future requests and in turn, react more intelligently. As a developer, you have the ability to change your system’s interpretation or behaviour directly in your app.

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