Happy Anniver-SIRI: The Story of a World-Class Virtual Assistant

*Disclaimer: This article was not sponsored by Apple Inc.

On October, 4th 2020, Siri – Apple Inc's acclaimed virtual assistant – turned 9 years old.

For 9 years, the renowned virtual assistant has been making life a little easier for users, by allowing them to connect with the world without lifting a finger and helping them navigate the vast and sometimes intimidating internet environment.

Before Siri was officially introduced as a product of Apple in October 2011, it was first developed as a stand-alone app and published in the app-store by Adam Cheyer, Dag Kittlaus and Tom Gruber – Developers and Standford Research Institute cohorts. The developers not only intended to create Siri for iOS, but also for Android and BlackBerry operating system, but after much persistence from Steve Jobs, they sold the product to Apple Inc. for more than $200 million. Fun fact, Dag Kittlaus, a Norwegian, was the one who actually came up with the name Siri which means "Beautiful woman who guides you to victory". For decades, Cheyer and Kittlaus worked relentlessly to perfect the virtual assistant, building over 50 versions of the technology prior to commercializing it and selling it to Apple. The buy-out was performed with the hope of offering an alternative to Google search services on Apple products and rather than having their own search function in their browser (Safari), the company opted for a more engaging approach.

It is also important to mention that even before the sale, Siri raised a total of $24 million from investors including Menlo Ventures and Chinese billionaire, Li Ka-Shing, who also invested in Facebook...

Siri began its life as a rudimentary task manager with restricted commands but has since grown into a proficient tool across all Apple devices. Today, Siri is an easier, faster way to do all kinds of useful things. From setting alarms, reminders and timers to previewing your calendar and getting directions, Siri can do it all without you ever having to pick up your device. Based on your routine, the virtual assistant can even anticipate what you might need to help you cruise throughout your day.

Whether you are driving or having your hands full, Siri can help you stay in touch effortlessly by making proactive suggestions like texting someone that you are running late for a meeting. Moreover, Siri can also remember previous interactions, respond to queries conversationally, sound natural, and have some control over certain aspects of your life, all while remaining private and secure. The combination of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence allows Siri to become more personalised based on what it learns about its users. Like Amazon's Alexa, Siri can also be a good option to run your smart home, allowing you to control your smart appliances or check their status. It even allows you to create a scene called "I'm home" that opens the garage, unlocks the front door, and turns on the lights. As the tech world keeps innovating, many speculations have risen about the future of smart assistance in general and Siri in particular.

The Future of Siri

Mangrove Capital Partners suggested in a report on voice recognition and digital assistants that Apple should produce a 'SiriOS'. The voice community expects Apple to release the Siri Operating System for its developer community in the hope that it will accelerate innovation and adoption. The speculative operating system would make Apple's smart assistant a cohesive, single entity across a user's ecosystem.

Future versions of Siri might go beyond voice recognition to improve accuracy by adopting the use of the camera properties to analyze facial reactions and emotions as users take part in conversations with the voice assistant.

As we hope and await all these amazing features, one can't help but acknowledge and appreciate the tremendous efforts behind the evolution of Siri throughout the years.

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