Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,865,280) for “structured dictation using intelligent automated assistants ” conversion that shows the company is eyeing ways to improve this functionality using Siri on its iOS and macOS devices.
Per the patent, systems and processes for structured dictation using intelligent automated assistants are provided. In one example process, a speech input representing a user request can be received. In addition, metadata associated with the speech input can be received.
A text string corresponding to the speech input can be determined. The process can determine whether to perform natural language processing on the text string and whether the metadata identifies one or more domains corresponding to the user request. In response to the determination that natural language processing is to be performed on the text string and that the metadata identifies one or more domains corresponding to the user request, natural language processing of the text string can be constrained to the one or more domains. A result can be obtained based on the one or more domains and the result can be outputted from the electronic device.
In the patent filing, Apple says that digital assistants can interpret user intent by means of natural language processing. In particular, the user's speech input can be parsed to determine the semantic intent that is most likely implicated by the speech input. The process of identifying the most likely semantic intent can be computationally intensive.
What’s more, in some cases, an incorrect semantic intent may be deduced due to the speech input implicating several possible semantic intents. This can adversely affect response latency of the digital assistant as well as the accuracy of the response obtained. Apple thinks it can improve the process.
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.