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Company Working On AI Beyond Siri

After birthing a virtual assistant that knows a little of everything, SRI International is working on ones that know a lot about just one thing. The nonprofit research center is arguably best known in the tech world for spinning off Siri, whose virtual assistant tech Apple acquired in 2010. SRI also incubated Tempo, an AI-driven calendar app that Salesforce bought last year. Now, SRI believes it can infuse AI into even more settings—shopping, banking, travel, business-to-business applications, and so on—allowing for deeply knowledgeable chatbots that know how to carry a conversation. The goal, says William Mark, SRI's president of information and computing services, is to have assistants that are much better at specific tasks than a general-interest assistant like Siri.

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