April 30, 2015 5:59 PM Subscribe
Siri talked only to a few limited functions, like the map, the datebook, and Google. All the imitators, from the outright copies like Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana to a host of more-focused applications with names like Amazon Echo, Samsung S Voice, Evi, and Maluuba, followed the same principle. The problem was you had to code everything. You had to tell the computer what to think. Linking a single function to Siri took months of expensive computer science. You had to anticipate all the possibilities and account for nearly infinite outcomes. If you tried to open that up to the world, other people would just come along and write new rules and everything would get snarled in the inevitable conflicts of competing agendas—just like life. Even the famous supercomputers that beat Kasparov and won Jeopardy! follow those principles. That was the "pain point," the place where everything stops: There were too many rules.
The idea was audacious. They would be creating a DNA, not a biology, forcing the program to think for itself.John H. Richardson for Esquire
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