Apple has acquired an AI startup called Voysis, which could be used to enhance Siri’s commerce capabilities (via Bloomberg).
Voysis is an artificial intelligence platform used to improve AI assistants for online shopping. A webpage that the company since removed mentions how its technology could “narrow product search results by processing shopping phrases such as ‘I need a new LED TV’ and ‘My budget is $1,000’”.
Voysis’s system taps into Wavenets, an AI-based method for creating more human-like computer speech that was first developed by Google’s DeepMind in 2016. Voysis co-founder Peter Cahill said in 2018 that his company managed to shrink its system to the point where, once the AI is trained, the software uses as little as 25 megabytes of memory — about the same size as four Apple Music songs. That made it much easier to run on smartphones without an internet connection.
Apple could use this technology to improve Siri when customers ask information about Apple products. Conceivably, Siri could even complete the transaction with the user’s approval, enabling a shopping-by-voice paradigm.