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Apple Acquires AI Start-Up Voysis

By Danny Vena - Apr 7, 2020 at 4:08PM

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The iPhone maker is apparently taking another crack at improving Siri's language skills.

Apple (AAPL 0.34%) has acquired Voysis, an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up focused on helping systems provide better responses to voice commands. Bloomberg reported the acquisition on Friday. The most obvious application would be to continue the incremental improvements Apple has been making on Siri, the iPhone's voice-activated digital assistant.

The company told Bloomberg that Apple "buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

A woman talking into a smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

Voysis's website, which has since been shuttered, reportedly said the company used AI tools that focused on customer databases to develop a deep understanding of the company's products and services, as well as industry-specific vocabulary.

The Dublin-based company, which also has offices in Boston and Edinburgh, uses its AI acumen to help digital assistants better understand everyday language. Voysis previously marketed its product as a solution for companies looking to develop or improve their own voice-powered apps, with a particular focus on online shopping apps and those in the retail sector.

One of the more appealing features of Voysis technology is its size. Bloomberg reported that a Voysis co-founder had said that once the AI system was trained, the company was able to reduce the scope of its solution to take up just 25 megabytes of memory, small enough to be run on the edge, or locally on smartphones without requiring an internet connection.

This was the second such deal for Apple in just over a week. The company in late March acquired weather app Dark Sky, which gained popularity for its ability to provide hyperlocal weather forecasts.

Danny Vena owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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