Future iterations of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri may use crowdsourcing as a method for answering certain questions. In a recently published patent uncovered by Apple Insider, the Cupertino-based company outlined a system that would allow Siri to use crowdsourcing as an alternative method to find answers to questions that it cannot find in its regular databases.
In the patent titled “Crowd Sourcing Information to Fulfill User Requests,” Apple noted that, “At any time, a digital assistant may be limited by its particular implementation, however sophisticated that implementation may be, and fail to produce a satisfactory response to a user’s request.” In other words, despite its “natural language processing, knowledge base, and artificial intelligence,” sometimes even Siri doesn’t know the answer to a user’s question.
As noted by Apple Insider, Siri currently uses online data sources such as Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing and Wolfram Alpha to find answers to users’ questions. However, despite access to these powerful search engines, Siri may still occasionally fail to find a satisfactory response to users’ requests.
According to the patent, if Siri detects that it was unable to provide a satisfactory answer, it would request permission from the user before forwarding the query to “one or more crowd sourcing information sources” in order to generate one or more answers. The “crowd sourcing information sources” or “CS information sources” could involve “a real-time answer-lookup database” or “non-real-time expert services.”
CS information sources could include “expert information services, general information sources, and forums where answers to questions are provided in structured, semistructured, and unstructured forms by members of the public.” In this sense, Apple users may one day be helping Siri to answer another user’s question. Although it is not known when Apple might implement this feature into Siri, the system outlined in this patent could one day give Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant a virtually limitless ability to answer all types of users’ questions. Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five trading sessions.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)