It’s easy to ask Siri for directions to Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, and other big businesses. But what about small businesses? What about small businesses with weird names? It turns out that Apple has created a special Siri database for this.
Miss Siri’s Database for Peculiar Businesses
The special database means that Siri mishear you if you order from a small, local business. The kind of machine learning algorithms used for speech recognition is great with large amounts of data. That enables it to easily recognize popular phrases and parse sentences. But it’s not good for vernacular and less popular phrases.
The latest entry in Apple’s Machine Learning journal talks about Siri’s “regionally specific language models for speech recognition.” It uses customized language models called geolocation-based language models (Geo-LMs).
To improve Siri, the team pulled local search results from Apple Maps, and sorted out the places of interest (POIs). Then, they removed the popular franchises like Taco Bell from this list of POIs, which gets updated daily. Once the big business are gone from the set, it will reveal the small businesses that people search and ask for.
As long as there is enough data to work with, this approach easily works with other languages and geographic locations.