Siri - Apple's new voice control technology in the iPhone 4S - has placed huge manpower demands on the company, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. The in-depth look at the making of Siri points out that the implemented technology is the product of one of the single biggest software development teams ever formed at Apple.
The creators of Siri put "deep thought" into the personality of their software, says Norman Winarsky, a co-founder of the company that was bought by Apple for $200 million in 2010. Siri was born out of an artificial intelligence project at SRI International, a research institute.
"There were many conversations within the team about whether it should be gender neutral or should have an 'attitude,'" says Winarsky, who added that the pre-Apple consensus was that Siri should showcase "a light attitude" on occasion. Staying true to the founder's vision of what the smart software can and should do, Apple is retaining Siri in its originally intended form: "friendly and humble -- but also with an edge."
Case in point: one user asked Siri the following question - "What's the meaning of life?" Siri replied: "I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens."