Casey: “How many days has it been since December 18?”
Siri: “It’s three hundred forty-five days until then.”
“This was a bit of a shock to me, not because I thought Siri was smarter than this, but because I had been collecting similar Siri screenshots concerning dates and times for a few days and was planning to write a post about it,” Dr. Drang writes. “Context has always been one of Siri’s weaknesses, and that’s where it failed Casey. Any normal human being would understand immediately that a question asked in January about days since a day in December is talking about the December of the previous year. But Siri ignores (or doesn’t understand) the word “since” and calculates the days until the next December 18.”
“Siri can be good at date and time math, but it needs the right syntax,” Dr. Drang writes. “Not surprising for a computer program, but not how Siri has been promoted by Apple.”
Check out all of the examples in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s annoying. This sort of stuff is why Siri has the reputation it does. Why can’t Siri correctly answer the simple question, “How many days has it been since December 18?”
“Since,” dummy. I said “since,” not “until!”
Some people gripe when we call Tim Cook’s Apple “lazy,” “mismanaged,” and/or “unfocused” in certain areas (see also: Mac Pro), but the shoe fits: Siri debuted October 12, 2011*. Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011. 7+ long years later, Tim Cook owns Siri and, in far too many ways, she is as stupid as the day she was born.
We’re hoping that, with the hiring of John Giannandrea, Apple has finally fully recognized whatever internal, structural, political, management issues the company had that retarded Siri’s progress for years and that we’ll see some real improvements, especially in contextual understanding, at WWDC 2019.
Maybe Apple will even feel confident about advertising Siri again!
*Siri debuted as an iOS app in February 2010 before Apple bought it.
AI guru John Giannandrea named to Apple’s executive team – December 20, 2018
Former Apple employees on Eddy Cue: Siri and Eddy were ‘a bad fit’ – September 5, 2018
Apple’s Siri improved by 11 percentage points in correct answers over the last 15 months – July 25, 2018
Apple combines machine learning and Siri teams under John Giannandrea – July 10, 2018
Apple’s ‘personal assistant activation’ patent application hints at improved Siri – May 10, 2018
iOS 11.4 will allow Siri to recognize AirPlay commands – May 3, 2018
iPhone X owners are extremely satisfied with basically everything except Siri – April 20, 2018
Apple’s Siri, HomePod and the voice assistant showdown – April 6, 2018
Apple’s A.I. efforts get shot of adrenaline with Giannandrea coup – April 6, 2018
A.I. defector gives Apple access to Google’s secrets – April 6, 2018
Gene Munster: Poaching AI chief John Giannandrea from Google a win for Apple – April 5, 2018
Apple hires Google’s A.I. chief to improve Siri – April 4, 2018