Voice assistants from several brands
Voice assistants from several brands (JEROME COLOMBAIN / RADIO FRANCE)

We start with Siri, Apple’s assistant, launched in 2011. If you ask him why his name is Siri, he won’t tell you much. The secret is well kept. To find out more, you have to go back to the origins. The Siri application comes from several American research programs, conducted in the early 2000s, including the Stanford Research Institute, initials: S.R.I. But this is not the origin of the name Siri.

In 2007, three American entrepreneurs took over the Stanford project and created a start-up that they called Siri because one of its creators, Dag Kittlaus, lived in Norway where the word siri means: “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”. He wanted to call his daughter Siri. He had a son. He consoled himself with his start-up. It was not until 2010 that Apple bought the start-up Siri to integrate the voice assistant into the iPhone. The mission will be entrusted to the American Adam Cheyer and the French Luc Julia. While Steve Jobs didn’t like the name Siri, it stuck. Note that Siri is the only voice assistant that can be either male or female, depending on the user’s choice.

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The name Alexa is inspired by the Alexandria Library, which is believed to contain all the knowledge in the world. The picture is beautiful. But that’s not the only explanation …
Alexa was inspired by Star Trek, where there is an omniscient computer that one calls out by simply saying: “computer”.

Amazon engineers searched for a keyword that was easy to pronounce in any language. A name with a hard consonant so that it is easily recognized by the device. They chose Alexa because it “claps.” It’s technically convenient. It also needed a word that is not spoken too often in everyday life, to avoid the risk of confusion. Except this is not perfect because a lot of people have called their daughter Alexa. And then, in French, for example, if, in a sentence, you say “with that”, the voice assistant will activate almost every time!

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