Siri, is a digital assistant that learns and uses a bunch of technologies to assist users:
- Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) to convert speech into text
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) to parse text and convert into intent
- Question and Intent Analysis to convert intent into commands and actions
- Learn and associate
- Interface with APIs to get answers. E.g. Calendar, OpenTable etc.
- Fallback to WolframAlpha or Search if APIs not available
- Convert results to human understandable text
- Text-To-Speech (TTS) to convert text to synthesized speech
Although it is possible to use Siri in loud environments by editing the results of automatic speech recognition, the experience is quite cumbersome.
Siri in iMessage is expected in iOS 11
Apple Patent indicates you will be able to include Siri in your iMessage conversations.
The conversations may be between you and Siri, or between your friends and Siri.
Apple Patent 20170132019, was filed Nov 6, 2015 and granted May 11, 2017.
Section  from Patent
It can be desirable to implement a digital assistant in a messaging environment. The messaging platform can enable multiple modes of input (e.g., text, audio, images, video, etc.) to be sent and received.
A user request can thus define a request to the digital assistant using a combination of inputs (e.g., image and text). As described herein, this can increase the functionality and capabilities of the digital assistant, thereby providing a richer interactive experience between a user and a digital assistant.
In addition, the messaging platform is a visual interface which permits interactions in a broader range of environments than voice/audio based platforms.
A digital assistant in a message environment can thus enable greater accessibility to the digital assistant.
In particular, the digital assistant can be accessible in noisy environments or in environments where audio output is not desired (e.g., the library).
Further, the messaging platform can be a conversational interface where short concise communications are exchanged between two or more parties and presented in a chronological format.
A digital assistant in a message environment can thus enable the digital assistant to be a participant in a multi-party conversation where the benefits associated with the digital assistant can be shared among the multiple participants.
Moreover, the chronological format enables a user to conveniently review previous interactions with the digital assistant and utilize the contextual history associated with the previous interactions to define a wider range of tasks.
Conversing with Siri in iMessage
Requesting Siri to scan a business card and store into contacts
Requesting Siri to recognize a picture and take an action
Conversation with John and Siri
Chatbots are improving and becoming more and more helpful and accessible. We have written extensively about Chatbots in the following article and blog posts:
Messaging between people and with roBOTs
Overcoming chatbot design challenges in order to make them convincing
Meaningful Personalization in Messaging & Conversational Interfaces
iMessage + Apps + Messages app