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Siri Co-Developer From Chicago Talks Future Of Computers

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CHICAGO (CBS) – We know her name – Siri – and we know her voice, but few of us know that one of her co-developers is a Chicagoan.

Dag Kittlaus helped put Siri in the iPhone. CBS 2’s Ed Curran spoke with him about why Siri is so important, and the amazing things we can expect from computers of the future.

Siri is the personal assistant on the iPhone. She listens to you and gets things done.

Kittlaus was co-developing Siri when he got a call from Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

“He said, ‘We love what you’re doing, and can you come over tomorrow,’” Kittlaus said.

Jobs knew Siri was the future of phones and computers.

“Siri is the first technology that combines all of the aspects that you need to converse with a computer,” Kittlaus said.

Apple bought Siri for a reported $200 million.

Looking to the future, Kittlaus said technology like Siri will be the only way to communicate with some computers.

“As everything shrinks, the interface turns out to be impossible to use with your hands … so you end up talking to the computer,” he said.

Siri has even been put into cars to provide driving directions.

Kittlaus said some computers of the future won’t even have a screen.

“Maybe at some point in the future you’ve got something just whispering in your ear,” he said.

Your phone might be able to monitor your health and tell you to call your doctor if needed.

Siri has been programmed to seem like a real person, and her answers can surprise you.

When Ed Curran asked Siri “will you marry me,” she responded “let’s just be friends, okay?”

What else did Kittlaus say we can we expect in the future of computers?

He said technology is coming to let you feel virtual fabrics, or even smell cologne online.

And home printers that will soon be able to create 3-D objects might change pizza delivery forever.

“You send me an email that has an attachment that might be a pizza. I don’t just print out a picture of a pizza, I’m printing out the real thing, and it’s gonna be hot, it’s gonna be steaming, and it’s gonna taste exactly like the real thing,” Kittlaus said.

On the roof of the Kittlaus home is the ultimate office: a cupola with a sweeping vista.

It’s there that Kittlaus keeps up on his hobby: meteorology.

“This is weather central in my house,” he said.

It’s a weather station with a view of incoming storms, and a place to wait out his non-competition deal with Apple, and follow his passions

“Mine happen to be looking at the future, and figuring out where it’s going, and being a part of building it,” Kittlaus said.

Just who is Siri? Kittlaus would only say her voice came from a corporate partner who creates computer voices through thousands of hours of work. One woman’s voice is at the heart of it, chosen because they liked the personality in her voice.

CBS 2 was hoping to find her, and even narrowed it down to a woman in Boston who does voice work, but she denied being the voice of Siri.

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