While the co-founder of the company that developed Siri didn’t know what Apple’s plans were for the voice assistant when the tech company took ownership of Siri in 2010, he did think the tool would be used “to start another revolution.” Now, Norman Winarsky believes the tool has come up short, Quartz reported.
Some of his disappointment stems from the fact that it’s easy to overestimate changes that might occur in the future. Still, Winarsky had a different vision for the tool than the approach Apple took.
Siri’s founders saw Siri as a sort of concierge that would automatically rebook cancelled flights and book a hotel room, if need be. But Apple took a broader approach, using the voice assistant for a variety of purposes, which meant the technology was harder to develop — and get right. As a result, Siri sometimes has trouble with spoken requests, and its usage is reportedly declining.
Still, in 2017, Apple was searching for someone who wanted to “play a part in the next revolution in human-computer interaction,” according to a job posting.
A Cult of Mac news report said the job listing called for a software engineer who also had some previous experience in psychology or counseling. The new hire would be in charge of designing and implementing natural language interactions into Siri.
“People have serious conversations with Siri,” stated the Apple Careers job ad. “People talk to Siri about all kinds of things, including when they’re having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind. They turn to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life. Does improving Siri in these areas pique your interest? Come work as part of the Siri Domains team and make a difference.”
Apple needed someone who could not only write complex code, but who also knew algorithms and could communicate well — with a multilingual speaker preferred by the company.