Dr Siri could soon be translating languages for you
Siri could soon be capable of talking you through health problems and translating speech, according to a former contractor for Apple.
After the firm was caught allowing contractors who worked on Siri to listen into “private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, seemingly criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on”, it fired those contractors and promised to move its grading in-house and make Siri audio recordings an opt-in service rather than the default option for iPhones.
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It seems as though one of the contractors might not have been too happy with this decision, as someone went ahead and leaked confidential documents regarding the future of Siri to The Guardian.
While the majority of the leak revolved around how Siri was programmed to treat sensitive topics and improvements we can look forward to with iOS 13 – including Siri support for Find My Friends, the Apple Store and Shazam on the Apple Watch as well as ‘play this on that’ requests for smart home devices and the option to have notifications read out loud on AirPods – it did also describe a couple of longer term upgrades.
Apple is reportedly working on turning Siri into Dr. Siri by training it to “have a back-and-forth conversation about health problems”.
This won’t be Apple’s first step into the medical field – the company introduced an ECG sensor and Fall detection with the Apple Watch Series 4 to alert your doctor or a set of pre-selected contacts if something will wrong.
Siri’s medical advice will likely follow a similar path, advising users to seek a doctor or to head to A&E rather than recommending treatments.
Read our review of the Apple Watch Series 4
The company is also apparently working on “built-in machine translation” for the popular voice assistant. VentureBeat notes that Siri is already capable of translating spoken words and phrases from a device’s default language into a second language, so this could be a step closer to more naturally flowing conversation and away from the standard question answer format for the voice assistant.