Siri wants to harness human brain power

Jamie Lumsden, ClickOnline.com

, Last Updated: 1:40 PM ET

Apple has just filed a patent that could see Siri doing a lot more than answering basic questions and setting notifications, as they plan to expand the Siri's database with answers from human sources. The "Crowd Sourcing Information to Fulfill User Requests" patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gives the indication that Apple plans to utilize the book-learning of real experts to respond to user queries.

The 2,000-word document seems to imply that Siri will resort to crowd-sourcing for an answer if it failed to find an acceptable response in its current database.

"In response to detection of the failure, information relevant to the user request is crowd-sourced by querying one or more crowd sourcing information sources."

Using sources such as Bing, Yahoo and Wolfram Alpha, the current iteration of Siri can only answer relatively basic questions. Given additional results from "self-identified experts" could give Siri the flexibility and power of human-based Q&A sites, such as Yahoo Answers, ChaCha or Quora.

"In some embodiments, queries and answers in a particular field may be posted in a public area for all self-identified experts of the field to see," states the patent's text. "The answers provided for the queries can be peer reviewed and rated by other self-identified experts in the field."

By utilizing a more human-based approach to the process, Siri must sacrifice some its convenience to search for and analyze appropriate solutions. The patent address this issue, mentioning a "delayed response" that happens outside of the current user session's time frame.

"The time frame in which a delayed response to a user request is provided ranges from several minutes to several hours, days, or weeks," noted the patent. "[This depends] on the nature of the user request and the typical time frame that useful information may be crowdsourced from external CS information sources."


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