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Apple’s plan to make Siri sound more human? Send her to Cambridge

Mastering natural speech appears to be the next great frontier for vocal personal assistants, so it’s little surprise Apple has reportedly sent Siri to the UK to brush up on her communication skills.

BusinessInsider reports Apple has a secret office in Cambridge, where it is teaching Siri to ‘talk more naturally.’

The office apparently houses employees of the VocalIQ company Apple purchased back in October 2015 for an undisclosed fee. Rumours suggest Apple paid up to £80 million.

Related: iOS 10 review

The start-up’s software was designed for this very purpose; to improve the vocal communication between human and computer intelligence.

It’s unclear whether VocalIQ tech has already been integrated into Siri and Apple has not commented.

A source told Business Insider: “It’s still unclear when Apple plans to implement more of VocalIQ’s capabilities into Siri. One source speculated that it may happen slowly over time, so as not to throw off users with a radical change. But it sounds like Apple is arming itself for a significant shift in how Siri works.”

Apple seems to be giving Siri more and more of a role as time goes on and it will be central to the firm’s smart home additions.

Google, Amazon and Microsoft are all battling hard in this space so it’ll be interesting to see how Apple’s new Cambridge office rises to the challenge. Right now Apple is thought to be a little behind its rivals.

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