The Huffington Post recently shared an inside look at the origins of Siri. The article states, “The world got its first inkling of the quick wit that would make Apple’s Siri an icon during a packed press conference held before an auditorium of tech elite. ‘Who are you?’ an Apple executive asked the assistant. ‘I am a humble personal assistant,’ Siri answered to appreciative laughter. More like humbled personal assistant. That press conference was actually Siri’s second coming-out party. When the virtual assistant first launched in early 2010, it was a standalone iPhone app called Siri created by a 24-person startup with the same name, a company Apple would later acquire.”
The article continues, “Back then, Siri boasted an even more irreverent tone — and a more robust set of skills. Like fiction writers dreaming up a character, Dag Kittlaus, Siri’s co-founder and chief executive, and Harry Saddler, a design expert, had carefully crafted the assistant’s attitude and backstory. It was to be ‘otherworldly,’ ‘vaguely aware of popular culture’ and armed with a ‘dry wit,’ Kittlaus says. Ask it about gyms, and Siri sent back a mocking, ‘Yeah, your grip feels weak.’ Ask, ‘What happened to HAL?’ — the brainy (and murderous) talking computer that starred in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 thriller ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ — and it delivered a sullen, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ In those days, Siri still had ‘f*ck’ in its lexicon. That was before Apple washed Siri’s mouth out with soap and curbed many of its talents, even as it endowed the assistant with new gifts.”
Back in 2009, co-founder Tom Gruber demonstrated Siri in its original app form and discussed virtual assistants at our very own Semantic Technology & Business Conference. Registration is now open for the next conference June 2-5, 2013 in San Francisco.
Image: Courtesy Siri