Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has acquired a Cambridge, UK-based artificial intelligence software maker, VocalIQ, reported Business Weekly yesterday. It seems that the Cupertino-based company is trying to improve its voice-recognition technology. However, the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Led by CEO Blaise Thomson and Chairman Steve Young, VocalIQ is a company formed after being separated from the University of Cambridge’s Dialogue Systems Group. It essentially focuses on an artificial intelligence (AI) technique known as deep learning to enhance language recognition. So far, VocalIQ has been selling its software to automobile makers. However, the startup received £750,000 in seed funding last year.
VocalIQ’s software aims to improve voice-recognition by making human-to-machine dialogue more natural. In an earlier blog, commenting on tech companies’ usage of machine learning, the company said: “Apple, Google and some others have mastered how to use machine learning for speech-recognition, they are still stuck with medieval approach when it comes of conversational voice dialog. They are still using preprogrammed flow-chart based response that don’t learn.”
At a time when language processing technology still remains primitive, the software focuses on areas that have mostly been ignored. For starters, it relies on self-learning technology, and keeps a record of every instance where it failed to understand what the user said. This allows it to keep improving its recognition feature. The software also tries to understand the context in which it receives commands, further improving its speech-recognition technology.