Future versions of Siri may support ‘unconventional interactions’

Future versions of Siri — its “personal digital assistant” — may sound like, and respond to, more natural language thanthe somewhat structured interaction of the present. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20170132199) for “unconventional virtual assistant interactions.”

In the patent filing, Apple says that a digital assistant (Siri) can be helpful in remembering calendar events or other reminders that have been set specifically by a user. It also can be helpful in generating a recommendation based on a user request and on third-party reviews that are publicly available. 

However, Apple says that digital assistants generally have not been useful in handling unconventional interactions, such as interactions with users other than a primary user, interactions with other virtual assistants, complex interactions, and interactions with physical entities. What’s more, such assistants generally haven’t been useful in performing tasks that are spread out in time, or that include contingent steps or encounter exceptions. Apple wants to change this.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.