Apple wants Siri to work better at helping you perform tasks

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180308485)) for “intelligent digital assistance in a multi-tasking environment” with the goal of making Siri, its personal digital assistant, more effective for certain operations.

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In a desktop or tablet environment, a user frequently multi-tasks including searching files or information, managing files or folders, playing movies or songs, editing documents, adjusting system configurations, sending emails, etc. However, in the patent filing, Apple says that it’s often “cumbersome and inconvenient” for the user to manually perform multiple tasks in parallel and to frequently switch between tasks. The tech giant wants Siri to have an improved ability to assist you in performing some of the tasks in a “multi-tasking environment” based on your voice input.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “Systems and processes for operating a digital assistant are provided. In one example, a method includes receiving a first speech input from a user. The method further includes identifying context information and determining a user intent based on the first speech input and the context information. The method further includes determining whether the user intent is to perform a task using a searching process or an object managing process.

“The searching process is configured to search data, and the object managing process is configured to manage objects. The method further includes, in accordance with a determination the user intent is to perform the task using the searching process, performing the task using the searching process; and in accordance with the determination that the user intent is to perform the task using the object managing process, performing the task using the object managing 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.