Hello from CES in Las Vegas! In a temporary lapse of sanity, I decided to drive here 12 hours from Northern California. During that trip, I used Siri more than I have in a long time – and it was an absolutely dreadful experience.
I also have Homepod speakers around my house, so I use Siri sometimes. It’s mostly okay, but this journey drove it home for me: Apple is falling significantly behind in the voice assistant race.
Siri needs to get a lot smarter, and quickly – Apple’s voice assistant is being left in the dust by its competitors.
Siri was one of the first voice assistants to be available on smartphones. It’s a great assistive feature, but it’s about as cutting-edge as a butter knife. I have a list of examples as long as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but here are just a handful.
I am sufficiently European that I have my phone set to 24-hour time, and for some reason, Siri has decided that she, too, wants to report the time that way.
“So when I ask Siri for the time, instead of responding more conversationally and saying – ‘It’s half past 1’ – (as it’s intended to be) Siri insists on using the 24-hour format, too,” it says. “It is 13:30.” OK, yeah, that’s technically correct, but it’s an often-recurring reminder of Siri’s inability to adapt to the nuances and complexities of natural human speech.
Sadly, Siri seems to be lagging the competition in this department by a country mile. Alexa, for all its foibles, is pretty damn clever these days. Google’s voice assistant has its stuff buttoned up tight, too. But Siri gets confused more often than not.
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