Natural language digital assistants were a priority on major developer conferences this year. Facebook F8, Google I/O and Microsoft Build, all delved on how natural language communication through voice or text input is becoming the primary way humans engage with machines. Now that Apple’s WWDC is just around the corner, the news sites are buzzing with rumors, insider information and speculation of what new announcements Apple may have at its annual developer conference.
Brian Roemmele, who has been tracking Apple’s developments in AI right from the start, put up a blog post on Medium explaining how Steve Jobs pushed for natural language communication capabilities in his last days at Apple. The post clarifies Apple’s involvement in the changing human computer interaction scenario. The primary driver for Apple’s new natural language processing capabilities is apparently VocalIQ, a company that Apple acquired in October last year. The contextual understanding by VocalIQ is permanent and persistent. It is demonstrated to learn quicker than competition, and is allegedly better at handling noisy environments. VocalIQ was learned by Apple before they could release an application.