Quick. Can you name the world’s most popular, most used talking
intelligent personal assistant? Google’s oddly named Assistant? Nope. Samsung’s Bixby or Microsoft’s Cortana? Uh uh. Oh, wait. How about Amazon’s Alexa? That’s the one, right? Not. Even. Close.
Surprisingly, Apple’s Siri is not only the most well known, but also the most used talking personal assistant. Thanks to a sweet combo of brand recognition and nearly 1.5-billion devices, Siri is the most popular.
Siri is failing. Why?
The answer is as basic as Siri’s responses to a query. Siri does not just work. Siri inflicts more pain than the effort to use Siri is worth. Jonny Evans thinks Siri has a future.
Apple’s Siri is as important as iPhone or the Mac
Apple now sees AI as being as important as its retail, services, hardware, software or design arms – and that’s why machine intelligence now has a seat on the company’s executive board.
Apple shows how important Siri’s artificial intelligence is to the company by placing ex-Google AI chief John Giannandrea on the company’s prominent executive board.
His mission is obvious. Make Siri work. Unfortunately, even with Shortcuts, Siri remains mostly unused by Apple’s 1.5-billion devices. When was the last time you were cruising around in public and saw someone use Siri? When was the last time you used Siri for anything meaningful?
I want to use Siri and it’s likely that many of Apple’s customers feel the same way. The problem is simple and long standing. Siri does not respond properly to even some simple queries and requests.
Siri, open 2Do.app
Unfortunately, Siri just cannot figure out how to deal with words that sound the same but have different meanings and context. 2Do.app is my favorite Mac, iPhone, and iPad to-do list organizer. It comes with far more features than Reminders, and it synchronizes almost instantly between devices using Dropbox.
Reminders on iCloud will sync. Sometimes. If such to-dos and GTD lists are important, Reminders won’t help. 2Do will. Unless you use Siri.
Apple’s favorite talking
intelligent personal assistant isn’t smart enough to understand something that humans do well. Context. 2Do, two do, too do, to do, and to-do are the same to Siri. So, I tried to use the popular Things app instead. You see the problem, right?
Yes, Apple wants Siri to become an important part of every customer’s day-to-day gadget life, but until Siri can understand context, it just won’t happen. The frustration of using Siri out weighs whatever benefits Siri brings to the table.
First, Apple needs to make Siri understand specific voices. Mine. Yours. His. Hers. Second, Apple needs to let users edit Siri on an individual basis. “Add a reminder to 2Do” or “add a reminder to Things” should be an obvious example.
The next first step is when Siri knows who we are from any voice.