Nowadays, artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in a variety of ways, the most common of which is in improving computer programs and technologies. You might have heard of the popular artificial intelligence conversation program SimSimi back in 2012. For those who don’t know this piece of information, SimSimi was created by ISMaker, and it has an application designed for Android, for Windows Phone, and for iOS.
Another artificial intelligence application is in application programs that function as AI assistants, such as Alexa and Siri. These AI assistants help businessmen run their businesses more efficiently. Most of these AI assistants manage client projects, leaving businessmen more time to help their clients and make them feel satisfied and happy.
A Look into AI Assistants
Before we have a further discussion, let’s try to learn what an AI assistant is. An AI assistant is an application program that understands natural language voice commands and completes tasks for the user. They use natural language processing, or NLP, to match user text or voice input to executable commands. Most of them continually learn using artificial intelligence techniques including machine learning.
To activate an AI assistant, a keyword may be used. A keyword is a word or group of words such as “Alexa” or “Siri”.
A Deeper Understanding of Alexa and Siri
Amazon’s Alexa is an AI assistant developed by Amazon. It was first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker, which was developed by Amazon Lab126. Among other things, Alexa is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do-lists, streaming podcasts, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news.
Another great function of Alexa is its capability to control several smart devices while using itself as a home automation system. What’s more amazing about Alexa is that users can extend Alexa’s capabilities by installing “skills”. To make you understand more clearly, skills (also referred to as apps, such as weather programs and audio features) are additional functionalities that are developed by third-party vendors.
Additionally, Amazon allows device manufacturers to integrate Alexa voice capabilities into their own connected products by using the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), which is a cloud-based service that provides application programming interfaces to interact with Alexa.
Whereas Alexa is an AI assistant developed by Amazon, Siri is an AI assistant that is part of Apple Inc.’s iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS. The AI assistant uses voice queries and a natural-language user interface to answer queries, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of internet services. The software adapts to every user’s unique language usages, searches, and preferences, with continuing use; thus, returned results are individualized.
In actuality, Siri is a spin-off from a project originally developed by the SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center, and its speech recognition engine was provided by Nuance Communications.
Siri supports a wide range of user commands, including performing phone actions, handling device settings, checking basic information, searching the Internet, scheduling events and reminders, navigating areas, and is able to engage with iOS-integrated apps, and in addition, Siri uses advanced machine learning to function.
How did Alexa and Siri get their names?
We all have been saying, or sometimes practically shouting, their names at our gadgets, but does anyone ever have an idea where they got their names in the first place? If you still don’t know the answer to that, let me tell you now.
No one has ever revealed who actually developed Siri, but we do know that Siri was eventually bought by Apple for their iOS products. And so, Apple had no say over what to name this piece of technology.
Adam Cheyer, Siri’s co-creator, said that the name Siri was chosen because it was short to type, easy to remember, comfortable to pronounce, and is a unique name.
As for Alexa, apparently, the inspiration for the name came from Star Trek. The characters in Star Trek would say “computer” aloud before issuing a voice command to their spaceship. And so, it gave them an idea. However, “computer” wasn’t a suitable choice for the Amazon Echo since the staff needed a unique word that wouldn’t accidentally be said out loud.
In the end, they eventually settled on Alexa because it’s a unique word and easy to pronounce, but most importantly, it has a letter “X”, giving it a very unique sound.