Siri Needs to Get Smarter If It Wants to Hold Its Own Against Other Digital Assistants


To hold its own against digital assistants from Google, Microsoft and Amazon, Siri needs an IQ boost.

Last month, Google took the stage in Mountain View, California, to show off improvements to its digital voice assistant. Its signature ability is to have a conversation with it like you would a normal person.

You can ask “Google Assistant” what’s on your schedule and then have it text the person you’re meeting to say you’ll be late. Google remembers your first question, so you don’t have to start over with a new command. Like a real person, it builds off what you were talking about earlier.

All that left Apple’s Siri looking, well, kinda dumb.

Siri tends to respond only to specific commands, and if you change your phrasing, she gets confused. Even Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder and one of the company’s biggest fans, thinks Siri hasn’t quite nailed it yet.

“Sometimes Siri doesn’t get the words right, and I’m pissed,” he said at a Salesforce conference earlier this week.

Siri and Google Assistant are part of a new wave toward artificial intelligence — smart software that lets machines act more like humans — that has swept up tech giants Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, along with many others. While Siri came first, with the iPhone 4S in 2011, the lack of significant improvements to the assistant has opened the door for rivals to surpass her. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off Monday, may be a chance for the company to show that Siri isn’t standing still.

“There’s pressure because Siri has been around the longest,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said. “They need to do more so that people really want to do more with Siri.”

Apple declined to comment.

The competition is already stiff. Microsoft’s Cortana works the same across various devices like computers and phones, and Microsoft and Facebook have created “bots” you can chat with to do things like order flowers for your mother. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has become a popular way to control things in your home, play music and even order pizza through voice commands.

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SOURCE: Cnet, Shara Tibken