While Apple may have released Siri before Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, its voice-activated assistant is the least advanced of the three in many ways. This has a lot to do with the amount of data and the training digital assistants need to understand different languages, dialects, and language patterns. To improve its digital assistant, Apple recently started a study to collect voice data and feedback using an app called Siri Speech Study.
“The Siri Speech Study app enables participants to send certain product improvement data to Apple, as described in the consent form,” said a list discovered by TechCrunch. The software is available in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Taiwan. According to data from the analysis company Sensor Tower, Apple uploaded the Siri Speech Study to the App Store on August 9 and recently updated the software on August 18.
Apple isn’t exactly a secret about the app, but it doesn’t advertise its existence either. You can’t find the software by searching for it, nor is it listed as one of the apps published by Apple. Likewise, you cannot simply join the study by installing the software on your phone. You need an invitation from Apple to participate. We contacted Apple for more information about the app.
In particular, the app allows those involved to choose which Siri requests to send to the company. This is an important point. In 2019, The Guardian published a report detailing an Apple program where third-party vendors listened to anonymized Siri recordings to analyze the assistant’s responses. A whistleblower told the point of sale that there had been “countless cases” of sorters overhearing private conversations, including some involving criminal transactions and sexual encounters. Apple then moved the program in-house and switched to opt-in transcripts.
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