Rumor: Apple plans to use its VocalIQ acquisition on a big Siri upgrade

Last year Apple acquired a UK startup that’s developed a natural language application programming interface [API] that allows humans and machines to have a much more natural conversation. It will use the technology for a “big upgrade” to Siri, its voice-activated digital assistant, reports Tech Insider.

VocalIQ has developed a self-learning dialogue API that’s based on a decade of natural language research, belief tracking, decision making and message generation. Last October The Financial Times reported that “While VocalIQ's speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors. 

VocalIQ described how a "conversational voice-dialog system" in a car's navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its "self- learning" technology allows "real conversation between human and the internet of things", VocalIQ wrote.” VocalIQ’s research could result in an amazingly powerful future version of Siri that could learn from your conversations with it.

Quoting an unnamed “source familiar with VocalIQ’s product,” Tech Insider says it’s much more robust and capable than Siri’s biggest competitors like Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Because VocalIQ understands context so well, it essentially eliminates the need to look at a screen for confirmation that it’s doing what you want it to do, the article says.

Chances that this rumor is true: 90% (IMHO). Look for announcements along this line, along with the debut of a Siri API, at next month’s Apple WorldWide Developer Conference.