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A 9to5Mac report says Apple is testing a new natural language generation framework intended to improve Siri, its virtual personal assistant. The new technology, codenamed “Bobcat,” is included in the latest tvOS 16.4 beta release, which was released earlier this week and is the fourth beta release of the upcoming tvOS release.
The new framework brings “Siri Natural Language Generation” capabilities. Currently, Apple’s lone feature using the new framework is to tell jokes using Siri on the Apple TV. However, the Cupertino device maker is also taking a look at using natural language generation for tasks such as timers.
9to5Mac took a look at the code on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, HomePod, and Apple TV and found that the framework is not currently enabled on any devices except for the Apple TV. It should be noted that while both the Apple TV and HomePod and HomePod mini speaker run tvOS, the natural language generation framework is currently only enabled on the Apple TV.
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The publication’s findings agree with a Wednesday New York Times report that said that Apple engineers are currently testing “language-generating concepts.” In addition, 9to5Mac also discovered more details on Apple’s testing of the framework’s capabilities.
It should be noted that Apple’s natural language generation features for Siri should not be confused with the ChatGPT chatbots that we are currently seeing pop up on the web on what seems like a daily basis. Instead, Apple’s artificial intelligence technology is intended to be used to greatly improve Siri’s capabilities. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has stated that Apple is not currently working on its own flavor of ChatGPT.
The natural language generation artificial intelligence features Apple is testing will help the company to improve Siri’s responses. This will allow Apple to take Siri beyond the limits of its current template-based framework-based responses. The current technology has caused significant calling and engineering challenges for Apple’s developers over the last decade.
The NYT report says John Burkey, a former Apple engineer who worked on Siri, as saying these challenges resulted in it taking “weeks” to update Siri with “basic features.” While generative capabilities might help Siri, Burkey doesn’t see Siri becoming a chatbot like ChatGPT.
Generative AI-based algorithms can be used to create content, such as audio, images, text, and videos. However, Siri currently uses a database of information for its replies to user inquiries and cannot actually create user responses on the fly.
Eventually, we could see Apple expand its use of the natural language generation framework technology to device features beyond just Siri, but the Cupertino firm reportedly has no immediate plans to do so.
While Apple will eventually expand its natural language generation technology beyond just the Apple TV, there is no published timeline saying when exactly that might occur. Apple has a history of running tests of its technology in this manner, allowing it to quietly enable or disable the test features on the server side, with no need for users to manually update the features.
This information first appeared on Mactrast.com