Siri activated by ‘a city’ or ‘OK, Jerry’ reveals study of false wake words

By

Siri Lights
Accidental wake words affects all the major smart assistants.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri” can be inadvertently activated by other wake words including “A city,” “Hey Jerry,” and more, reveal researchers from Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Bochum Max Planck Institute.

Siri’s far from the only voice assistant with a weakness when it comes to false triggers, however. The study compiled a list of over 1,000 words that can accidentally activate different A.I. assistants.

Apple keeps throwing money at making Siri smarter

By

Siri Alexa in voice report
Apple’s latest acquisition aims to give Siri better data to work with.
Photo: Apple

Apple purchased Inductiv, a Canadian company that focused on using artificial intelligence to clean up data. They created HoloClean, which was designed to get useful predictions from “noisy, incomplete, and erroneous data.”

The employees of Inductiv joined the team developing Siri, Apple’s voice-driven AI assistant, according to Bloomberg.

Ireland’s data protection boss questions Apple over Siri privacy

By

Siri Lights
How private are your conversations with Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is questioning Apple over privacy concerns raised by an ex-contractor who transcribed users’ Siri requests in an effort to improve the voice assistant’s functionality.

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec this week said Apple should be “urgently investigated” over Siri data collection. It seems that the EU’s data protection authorities are listening.

Former contractor wants Apple investigated for Siri’s ‘massive’ data collection

By

HomePod siri
Ex-contractor's job was to transcribe Siri conversations.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A former Apple contractor says that Apple and other tech giants continue to ignore and violate “fundamental rights” with their “massive collection of data.” And he wants them investigated for it.

Thomas le Bonniec is one of the ex-Apple contractors whose job involved listening to users’ Siri recordings. News of the practice broke last year, but this is the first time le Bonniec has gone public.

Apple AI experts work to solve big speech-translation problems

By

Translation Unsplash
Machine translation isn't easy. But Apple's working to solve it.
Photo: Romain Vignes/Unsplash

Apple is seemingly looking to step up its work in speech translation, showing one more way that Cupertino is looking to incorporate cutting-edge approaches to artificial intelligence into what it does.

In a recent paper, published to the pre-print server arXiv, two Apple research scientists describe the challenges in the field, carrying out a fundamental survey of the problems with current speech translation.

No, they don’t have a magical solution. But the fact that Apple gave them such a task suggests the company takes seriously the need to hone its tools in this area.

Siri serves up doomsday prediction when asked about the end of 2020

By

Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Answer: Clearly not calming our nerves.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Between a pandemic sweeping the world and the ramped-up rhetoric of a U.S. election year, 2020 has felt pretty apocalyptic thus far. It seems that Siri agrees, too — at least, based on the AI assistant’s response to the question, “How long until 2020 ends?”

Siri’s answer varies depending on when you ask the question. But one thing’s consistent: The doomsday clock only has a few hours left on it. Fortunately, there’s a logical explanation.

Action-packed iOS 14 concept crams tons of new features on iPhone

By

iOS-14
We hope Apple adds this much new stuff to iOS 14.
Photo: Stijn van Oosterwijk

With all the iOS 14 leaks dropping ahead of WWDC 2020 we already have a pretty solid idea which new features will make the cut, but concept designer Stijn van Oosterwijk has a couple dozen other ideas that would make iOS 14 the biggest iPhone update ever.

Oosterwijk’s new iOS 14 concept video is jammed with new features. The video starts with a new incoming call screen and keeps pouring on other goodies. There’s lock screen widgets, a completely new Tools app, a translate app, an AR experience within the Maps app and so much more.

How many new features can you count?

Brilliant iOS 14 concept adds multiple docks to iPhone Home screen

By

ios-14
We need this ASAP.
Photo: Alessandro Chiarlitti

A brilliant new iOS 14 concept shows how useful it would be to have multiple docks at the bottom of the iPhone’s Home screen.

The multiple-dock UI, published by designer Alessandro Chiarlitti over the weekend, would basically let you toggle between different widgets at the bottom of the screen. That would give you quick access to music controls and other apps without opening them.

Check it out in action: