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The reason Apple uses “Hey, Siri” to invoke the wizard

“Oye Siri” ya no activa el asistente en el dispositivo más cercano, así se las ingenia ahora que el HomePod ha llegado a casa

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The reason Apple uses “Hey, Siri” to invoke the wizard
The reason Apple uses “Hey, Siri” to invoke the wizard


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“Hey, Siri”, “Ok, Google”, “Hi Cortana”… each voice assistant has its own way of being invoked with the voice. The manufacturers have looked for a special command for the assistant to respond and start listening to commands, in the case of Sir a “Hey, Siri” or “Hey, Siri” in English is enough. However, why “Hey” and not any other word?

The commands that activate the Voice Wizard are created for two main reasons. The first is to limit the number of times the assistant has to recognize what you are listening to by using a command, and it has to analyze far fewer sentences to be activated. The second reason is precisely to avoid false positives , since we could mention Siri in a conversation with another person, but that does not mean that we want it to be activated.

Naturally, the command had to be as natural as possible

If you’ve ever wondered why Apple chose this command to invoke Siri and not just any other, the answer is in the latest article on machine learning published by Apple. According to the engineers, the goal was to choose an easy, natural and comfortable way to invoke Siri.

At Apple does Sir listen to us all the time? How does “Oye Siri” privacy work?

And in Spanish it’s exactly the same, I’m sure on more than one occasion you’ve started a conversation with another person by saying “Oye, [Nombre]”. This is a natural way of conversing with another person. In the same way that “Ok” and “Hola” are, although “Ok” is more technical and modern, while always starting the conversation with “Hola” can be a little weird.

The arduous task of avoiding false positives

Having Siri constantly listening in locally to be activated with the “Hey, Siri” command seems like a simple thing to set up for a team of engineers like Apple’s. However, it is not that simple, and requires a lot of development and applying artificial intelligence to achieve more accurate results. Even more so if you want it to respond only to your command and not to other people’s. As Apple explains:

The developers of Siri must ensure not only that it is activated whenever you command it, but also that it is not activated when you say a similar command , when another person says the command or when other users say similar phrases. That’s why Siri asks you when setting up the device to say “Hey, Siri” several times for training purposes.

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