Apple patent gives Siri the wisdom of the crowd

Apple patent gives Siri the wisdom of the crowd
Siri was dumbed down quite a bit when Apple bought it and first integrated it into iOS, but it has been gradually getting smarter and smarter since then. However, the service does still have some troubles with returning the correct answer to various queries. But, a new patent shows that Apple does have a plan to fix those problems, and the answer is within all of you.

The patent is titled "Crowd Sourcing Information to Fulfill User Requests", and it would do much what that title implies. If Siri doesn't have the answer to a query, it could fall back onto searching a crowd-sourced database built by Apple that would contain answers generated by actual humans to that same question or a similar one. If this sounds familiar, it's because there are multiple options that already do this like ChaCha, Yahoo Answers, and more. So, we're not exactly sure what in the patent made the USPTO think this was an original procedure. 

The patent was filed back in March and approved today, so there is a fair chance that Apple is already monitoring questions and answers to build the database. Although, such a database would need to be quite large to be of any use, so it's hard to say when a solution like this would be added to Siri. 

source: USPTO via VentureBeat

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51 Comments

1. AfterShock

Posts: 4147; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Law suits in 3,2..

2. sum182

Posts: 229; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Another day, another BS apple patent....i mean, not their fault as they just submitted the application, it was USPTO that approved it, but still...Likely this will be overturned if ever questioned, come on USPTO!

17. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

And can we please stop talking bout patents.

3. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

"So, we're not exactly sure what in the patent made the USPTO think this was an original procedure." Money? ;)

31. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Or politics?

4. tedkord

Posts: 17415; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Finally. Now Apple can sue the internet.

14. Fallout09

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

It's funny because it's true.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Keep the improvements coming apple. It's good for tech as a whole

10. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I would have to disagree with you here. It doesn't deserve a patent at all...

39. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

Like u matter..

43. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I do if you bother to take the time out of your life to respond to me. Still continuing on being my #1 hater I see.

49. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

no i think he's just continuing to be a "royal payne"

11. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

While it may benefit Apple, how does it benefit tech as a whole? Every time any of these companies patent something, all it does is force their competition to find a work around, or "reinvent the wheel". Rather than working on something new, they have to spend time, money, & resources to accomplish essentially the same thing. I've said it once & I'll say it again, make a standardized patent system. If you patent something it would be available to anyone for a standard licensing fee. I wonder how much money and resources are wasted on work arounds. A patent system like the one I outlined would benefit tech as a whole.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It'll drive others to one up them. Keeps the comp coming.

15. Fallout09

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Wow... Someone has their blinders on..... Apple gets awarded a patent for something that has already been developed and in use for years by other companies. Please explain how it is beneficial for those companies who have been using the tech for some time now?

19. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Everyone does that. Everyone takes advantage of the patent system because it is highly flawed. Apple is not the only one doing this, so don't just blame them.

29. tedkord

Posts: 17415; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Many do abuse the flawed patent system. But only Apple uses it as a weapon to remove competing products from the market.

35. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

In some cases you're right. But all the press wants to know what Apple is doing more than what others are doing so it's normal that someone finds more stories about their patents. You also have no idea how many patents Samsung has submitted to remove competing products. Google also made a patent that could invalid the slide-to-unlock patent because they simply explained it in a different way, and even Apple patent slide-to-unlock is ridiculous. But let's face it, in the end, consumers get everything on every platform so consumers win. ahah in all honesty, this system is flawed and has been for a long time, this patent "war" is just stupid.

46. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Because people are ignorant. You can't patent the "idea" of a mouse-trap. You can patent a process or method to trap a mouse. In fact, people continue to invent new methods or processes to trap a mouse, i.e. these people want to build better mouse-traps. Apple's patent uses a different method or process, etc. This is not that hard of a concept to grasp.

30. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

For newer stuff, you are correct. But again, how much effort is put forth to come up with a non infringing version of that patent. And even if all patents were available for a fee, some companies might still see developing their own version as cost effective. But either way most people would probably go with the company who came up with the patent rather than a licensee, because the original company who developed it would have a better handle on the patent vs the company who paid for the license. This way would work just as well and get rid of most of the legal BS. All these companies going to court have legal fees, and one way or another it will get passed onto the consumer.

41. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

You mean it will aid in slowing competition so the corporation that owns the patent can have a quasi monopoly as far as law defines. Although they surpass the law when the profit to P.R. damage control ratio is favorable. I understand how important patents can be, but unlike you I am not blind to the fact that in this case it's not beneficial for consumers as it should be.

18. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Most patents that are battled in court have the same function. The problem with the patent system is that it allows for two exact things to be approved the only difference being the way it works. Sort of like the problems with the slide-to-unlock patents. There are several that do the same exact thing but the way they are explained are different.

28. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

F that, did you not see the veto happen. I bet there is a special rubber stamp for Apple at the patent office shaped in the form of the President with his lips to the underside of an Apple.

36. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

That was stupid indeed but I think the same thing would happen if it was in Samsung's turf. Each country is defending their property, in this case being the US.

20. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

I can't agree with you here, dark. Read the last 2 sentences of the second paragraph, "If this sounds familiar, it's because there are multiple options that already do this like ChaCha, Yahoo Answers, and more. So, we're not exactly sure what in the patent made the USPTO think this was an original procedure." This did not deserve a patent. The USPTO is broken, and Apple is taking advantage of it. Apple shouldn't get credit for other's work.

21. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You don't think it'll drive the competitors to better theirs though? That's what I mean by better as a whole.

25. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

Why would (IMO) an erroneous patent drive competitors. As others have stated there are other companies that use this same technology. This patent doesn't open the road to competition but rather having to work around the wording of the patent to be in legal compliance to use their software safely. Competition for this type of thing can go on without ridiculous patents that just help fan the flames. So darkkjedii please explain how an approval from the USPTO has now opened the road for competitors to better theirs? What without Apple's patent no one else would be able to compete? No, patents from these huge companies serve specific purposes, to silence all competition if possible, to stop competitors from bettering theirs. Apple isn't a small inventor in his garage trying to protect his one invention. They want monopolies. This goes for most huge corporations not just Apple.

26. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Just think about it bro, you basically said it yourself.

32. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Actually, if others have already devolped and been using the patent, it's like making yourself a sandwich and someone else coming in and taking it, then saying make your own sandwich. Apparently others already came up with this idea, but because Apple's patent was approved first it's theirs? Does that seem fair to you? I would surely think prior art would invalidate it.

33. mattkl

Posts: 255; Member since: Feb 01, 2010

So quote me then, or say something useful please. Or you could just be rubber and I'll be glue. "So darkkjedii please explain how an approval from the USPTO has now opened the road for competitors to better theirs?" I see that answer nowhere in my post. Also why would I think about an answer you CAN'T give me apparently and that you say I have already typed? So answer if you can. You say all this stuff, you question many comments on here but you can't answer when someone asks you a simple question. Just looking for clarification on your own comment. darkkjedii on Apple's newly approved patent: "You don't think it'll drive the competitors to better theirs though? No I don't, not in the way it should be. So please answer your question in your own words how it will better competitors pre-patent similar products? We want to know your take on the subject not just comments you make that infer you believe that this patent is good. How is it good?

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