The voice assistant’s origins began with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for research into developing an adaptable artificial intelligence. The original plan was less Siri and more SkyNet, as the DoD wanted to develop an AI with the capacity to learn and adapt to its user's demands. Siri retained some of that functionality when the company was still in talks to partner with Verizon, but its affiliation with Apple has seen its wings clipped for the sake of mass consumer appeal. Likewise, Siri’s capabilities initially offered wider potential than the current iOS implementation allows.
According to Gary Morgenthaler, a partner of one of the first venture capital firms to back Siri, Apple has explored only a fraction of Siri’s true potential:
“The Siri team saw the future, defined the future and built the first working version of the future. So, it’s disappointing to those of us that were part of the original team to see how slowly that’s progressed out of the acquired company into the marketplace."
Had Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus not met with Steve Jobs and Siri had been incorporated into Droid, it’s entirely possible that the assistant’s functionality could have encompassed a wider range of user options, though that is, of course, entirely speculative. But one can no doubt appreciate the potentiality of a Siri capable of intuitively scouring sources from all over the web to deliver a tailor made response to users’ needs. Time will tell if Apple chooses to unleash Siri’s inner HAL – with fewer terrifying tendencies – to exploit the full range of possibilities offered by the voice activated AI.