It’s not the sort of speech team that’d win tournaments in high school, but the sort that’d replace Apple’s reliance on Nuance speech recognition software that’s forming behind the scenes. Word from several sources suggests that Apple’s creation of a speech research team means big things for Siri. After Microsoft released Cortana and Google’s speech recognition has hit Android Wear, it’s high time Apple stepped up their game.
Apple apparently courted University of Toronto postdoctoral researcher Abdel-rahman Mohamed for his work with speech recognition. He suggests that "Apple is not hiring only in the managerial level, but hiring also people on the team-leading level and the researcher level."
This team is said to be working with deep learning, using neural network algorithms to learn and grow as they’re used. More than ever, Siri is set to become smarter as you use her (or him) more.
Over the past several years, Apple has hired the following professionals - and quite a few more - in the speech research-related environment:
• Alex Acero, former manager of Microsoft’s research arm
• Arnab Ghoshal, researcher for University of Edinburgh
• Gunnar Evermann, researcher for Nuance
If the Apple iWatch does indeed appear soon, we’ll see it given the bump. This machine will learn as you speak to it, and grow smarter as you use it. Just like Siri on your iPhone and iPad, Siri will speak with you, but in the very near future, she’ll be learning not only what your interests are, but how you speak as well, learning how to understand you better in the process.