Will Siri and her offspring bring the semantic web to life?

October 14th, 2011
One of the screenshots of Siri, answering strange requests. By thisismynext.com

One of the screenshots of Siri, answering strange requests. By thisismynext.com

Apple’s digital assistant Siri, which ships with the new iPhone 4S, has gotten a lot of attention the last few days. Initially the reaction to Apple’s new flagship phone wasn’t that enthusiastic. This all changed when people actually got the chance to test this new user interaction technology. An experiment, feeding Siri awkward requests, showed that she(*) can provide smart and funny responses. Further, Wired gave the iPhone4S a raving review, with Siri as its main reason. Together with Google Voice, Siri was heralded as the voice powered artificial intelligence that is ‘shaping up to become the next-generation user interface’.

The adoption of Siri as the next generation user interface

The use of voice to control devices could indeed provide a whole new level of ease-of-use, beyond the intuitive user interaction multi-touch provided us. However, that heavily depends on how well the voice recognition (from audio to words in a sentence), the natural language processing (the meaning of the sentence) and the inference of context is (e.g. what is the current context in terms of time, place, current activity of the user and how does it relate to the request?). If one of these processing steps fail (to often), users won’t get the desired result, leaving them frustrated and abandoning the technology.

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7+ things I learned about successful innovation through Steve Jobs

October 6th, 2011

Saddened to learn that Steve Jobs died yesterday at such a young age (he was 56) I immediately started writing this post. It’s a tribute to an iconic man who has strongly influenced my thinking on innovation and entrepreneurship. Before I start I would like to give some personal context to the list I’m going to share with you.

Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and due to his return the (second) rise of Apple began. His return was around the same time I started my career. In the early days I was intrigued by how Apple designed computers in a different, more fun and stylish, way. But it wasn’t until the iPod with its easy to use scrolling wheel and (later on) the iTunes store, which gave the music industry a new business model for the 21st century, that my interest really started to grow. At that time I was already working for Philips Research for multiple years, mostly developing new technologies and application to make handling of digital media easier for consumers.

Having mostly worked in a high-tech environment, which wasn’t always successful in making innovations a success on the market, I realized that innovation is much more then developing new technology. So over these years, I got increasingly interested in the question: ‘how to develop and market new products and services that are truly successful in the market?’ Steve Jobs and the innovations he, together with the rest of Apple, envisioned and made such a huge success in the market have really helped me to get answers to this question or helped validate what I’ve learned through other experiences.

This list could have been much longer, but I decided to narrow it to the few items that immediately came to mind.

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The Times paywall is going to work … for now …

July 2nd, 2010

[update : I've provided extensive feedback to @davidcushman's comments below, further elaborating on the ideas in this post]

When you click an article on The Times site you get confronted with the paywall

When you click an article on The Times site you get confronted with the paywall

The Times paywall is now active, I read this morning in a short piece on The Next Web. You know what? I’m going to make a bold prediction about this (which I always love doing). Contrary to what many Internet experts say, this is going to work.

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Steve Jobs says a few important things about making successful innovations at D8

June 2nd, 2010


The summary of the interview with Steve Jobs at All Things Digital D8.

I just watched this 5 minute summary clip of an interview with Steve Jobs at D8, the eighth annual conference of All Things Digital, see also this post at TheNextWeb. In my opinion almost everything he says in this clip touches upon important principals of successful innovation and also relates to ‘the secrets’ of Apple’s success. Below I summarized what these principles are according to me and what Jobs said related to them.

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We shouldn’t need @Soluto, what we need is a better OS where apps can’t drain resources by design

May 27th, 2010

I find it ridiculous that, after so many iterations of the Microsoft Windows operating system, we still need a service like Soluto (which won the TechCrunch disrupt 2010 competition) to be able to have a proper personal computing experience and to force the industry to change in the future. No offense intended here, Soluto just tries to lift the burden of all these Microsoft Windows users that have to use their ever slowing and destabilizing machines. However, in my opinion, it’s because of the bad design of Microsoft Windows OS(s) that 3rd party apps can claim resources in the way they do and interfere with stable operation of the system.

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Why the Apple iPad is a computing revolution in disguise

February 1st, 2010

After the introduction of the Apple iPad most of the blogosphere filled with critiques and rants, specked here and there with some praising stories. I must admit that my very first reaction was also skeptical, but when I took time to view Jobs’s iPad presentation (‘the day after’) and thought a little bit about what this product was about, my opinion started to shift, … big time!

As usual, this post is quite long, so I listed URLs to the sections below for easy navigation:

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