Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Why Isn’t Siri Getting Any Smarter?

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There’s a growing consensus amongst the techarazzi that Apple’s Siri AI is stuck somewhere around 2013 and is falling behind the competition.  At this week’s WWDC Apple’s Head of Engineering Craig Federighi bragged that Siri responds to a staggering 10B requests per month.  But as this WSJ columnist sarcastically points out, 5B of those requests are to set an alarm, 3B are repeat requests because Siri didn’t understand you the first time, and the remaining 2B were mistaken requests triggered by someone saying “seriously”.  Sadly, there’s probably more truth than humor in this breakdown.

So what’s going on with Siri?  When Apple launched its first AI-powered voice-enabled digital assistant in 2011 it seemed like a game changer because there was nothing else like it on the market.  But then Apple got complacent with AI by focusing more on new devices to add Siri into, instead of improving her knowledge base and machine learning capabilities.  Later entries like Alexa and Google were able to refine their AI brains to be better at both language recognition and interpreting the meaning of voice-based requests.  As a result their platforms simply understand us better.

Sadly, Apple doesn’t appear to have a fix in the works for Siri.  The simple non-voice device integrations they introduced this week are nice add-ons, but they don’t address Siri’s fundamental inability to understand humans.  Conspiracy theorists already blame Siri for Apple’s botched HomePod rollout, so the costs of an inferior AI system are becoming tangible.  Maybe someone can ask Alexa is she has any suggestions for Siri?!?

 

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