While you could honestly debate about whether Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa is the better digital assistant, Apple’s Siri is largely considered to be the worst of the three. Finally, it looks like Apple could be working on changing that — the company has been awarded a patent related to discovering trending topics in speech requests.
As time goes on, new words and phrases are invented and begin being used in society — like “cryptocurrency,” and “bae.” These are the kinds of words and phrases that the patent is aimed at learning.
As the phrases and words get used more often in social media, news articles, and web searches, the patent describes the system as being able to search archives of both live and recent speech traffic to find out if they’re being said to a digital assistant. If they are, notifications are generated to identify the meaning and context of the words and phrases and to provide usage statistics — things that could be helpful in ensuring that a digital assistant knows when a word or phrase is being used appropriately.
The technology could be useful. As Apple described in the patent filing, digital assistants can become outdated as language changes over time, even if those changes are subtle. When digital assistant are outdated, they become less and less helpful — and right now Siri needs all the help she can get in being a little more helpful.
Of course, just because Apple was awarded the patent, it doesn’t mean that it will be used any time soon. This patent is actually a continuation of a patent that was filed in 2015. Still, what the patent does mean is that Apple is actively working on ways to make Siri a better digital assistant and that we could definitely see a better version in the near future.
Apple has been awarded a number of patents of late. Last week, the company was awarded a patent aimed at addressing the so-called “luminescence shock” that can occur when a phone’s display is turned on in the dark. Before that, the company was awarded a patent related to using flexible batteries.
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