When designing an embedded system choosing which tools to use often comes down to building a custom solution or buying off-the-shelf tools.
TR10: Intelligent Software Assistant
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Siri cofounder Tom Gruber volunteered Adam Cheyer to participate in a conversation with the software (shown above). Gruber explains the artificial-intelligence tasks behind its responses.
1. "The user can ask a broad question like this because Siri has information that gives clues about what the user intends. For example, the software might store data about the user's location, schedule, and past activities. Siri can deal with open-ended questions within specific areas, such as entertainment or travel."
2. "Siri pulls information relevant to the user's question from a variety of Web services and tools. In this case, it checks the weather, event listings, and directories of local attractions and uses machine learning to select certain options based on the user's past preferences. Siri can connect to various Web applications and then integrate the results into a single response."
3. "Siri interprets this reply in the context of the existing conversation, using it to refine the user's request."
4. "The software offers specific suggestions based on the user's personal preferences and its ability to categorize. Because Siri is task-oriented, rather than a search engine, it offers to buy tickets that the user selects."
5. "By now, the conversation has narrowed enough that all the user has to do is click on his choice."
6. "Siri compiles information about the event, such as band members, directions, and prices, and structures it in a logical way. It also handles the task of finding out what's available and getting the tickets."