The time has come to think different about Apple’s Siri

“The time has come to think differently about Siri,” John Patrick Pullen writes for Fortune. “Five years ago, Apple released it as a simple iPhone feature. But today’s Siri is something else entirely. Found everywhere from Apple Watches to Apple TV—and soon to be on Macs — it’s no longer just an intelligent assistant. It’s an invisible operating system poised to propel Apple, and its products, into the future.”

“The changes in Siri are not just an evolution of the iPhone’s software or even of Apple itself. They represent a major shift in personal computing, like the move from DOS to mice, or from mice to touch screens,” Pullen writes. “Today there’s a new evolution in computer interaction afoot: We’re making the leap to voice control.”

“Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, Amazon has Alexa and Microsoft has Cortana. I believe Siri is leading the way, and not just because it’s coming to Mac computers later this year,” Pullen writes. “After all, Cortana has been on Windows PCs for years. It’s because when Siri arrives on the Mac, it will then be available on Apple computers, smartphones, wearable devices and the Apple TV set-top box. That’s an impressive arsenal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you haven’t tried Siri lately, you haven’t tried Siri.

Conversing with Apple’s Siri in macOS Sierra already feels almost natural – June 22, 2016
Apple’s Siri digital assistant made Cortana look bad at WWDC – June 14, 2016


    1. Nice catch.

      In addition, the idea that Siri is an invisible “operating system” is moronic. When I read that, what I saw was “I am a really novice writer who doesn’t know the first thing about operating systems, yet of all the wonderful myriad topics in this vast fascinating world, the one I choose to blather about is operating systems.”

  1. Nov 15, 2014 08:34 GMT · By Bogdan Popa · Share:
    We all knew that Cortana would soon arrive on the traditional PC with the help of Windows 10, but up until now, Microsoft tried to keep everything secret and avoid sharing any details on the new version of its personal assistant.
    While references to this new PC version of Cortana have already been found in older Windows 10 Technical Preview builds, the latest release, labeled as builds number 9879, comes with the very first configuration screen for the personal assistant on a PC.

    The zPC settings screen, which is being used to showcase some of the features that Microsoft is working on and which could be implemented in a future update, now includes what the company calls “Cortana and speech” settings under the “Privacy” menu.

    Few options are available at this point, but it does come as a confirmation that Cortana is reaching a more advanced development stage with every new Windows 10 update, so expect the upcoming builds, which should come in early 2015, to include a working version of the personal assistant

    Read more:

    1. Agreed trondude, agreed.

      The chaps at MDN seem to have more success using Siri lately but I personally have seen little to no improvement in her understanding of my requests.
      As ‘rdiddly’ notes below, she will often correctly transcribe my request but then not act on it correctly. Very odd.

      I’m patient though, and in time I’m sure Siri will improve.
      As has already been mentioned, Apple bought VocalIQ, so for the time being we all need to realign our expectations, and stop watching ST Voyager and TNG episodes…. 📺

    1. The new core to SIRI is VocalIQ, the most advanced voice recognition/Artificial Intelligence/machine learning engine available to non-government buyers.

      The key to VocalIQ’s abilities is the way it learns and the accuracy of its results. In a head to head test against pre-VocalIQ enhanced SIRI, Google Now, Viv and Cortana, VocalIQ scored 90+% accuracy on complex natural speech queries vs the competitions’ 20% accuracy (if they could respond at all). Further, VocalIQ was able to achieve that accuracy with only 10,000 samples, while the competitors had millions of samples to learn from.

      Then there’s this: Of all the commercial grade digital assistants, only VocalIQ remembered queries from prior sessions made hours, days, weeks earlier. No other digital assistant remembers queries once a session is closed (response given).

      Anybody denigrating today’s SIRI is a troll intentionally attempting to spread FUD. Dare I say they are paid hacks?

      1. There is one more possibility for those experiencing problems with SIRI: they aren’t using the SIRI that was announced at WWDC. That version has not been released yet. Look for it in the next couple of months.

  2. Siri, call the Atlantic Highlands police department. I can see while I say this to my phone that Siri has transcribed it correctly. Then she says, “I can call the Atlantic City police Department for you if you would like.” Atlantic City is about 120 miles south of Atlantic Highlands. I tried asking Siri in as many ways as I could think of before giving up. After one such attempt she showed me a list of police departments within what might have been a 60 mile radius. Atlantic Highlands Police Department was not on the list. Otherwise, she offered to call the police department in Atlantic City. All I wanted to do was to ask them to add my house to their watch list as I was planning on leaving that day for a week-long vacation. Imagine if it was something of a more urgent nature. I use Siri quite a lot. I have never given up on her. She always astounds me with her level of inability to offer some meaningful action.

  3. I just do things manually. I can’t be bothered to teach Siri when doing things “the old fashioned way” I suppose, gives me more control. I don’t compile every program on my Mac, I’m not that much into control, but basic text sending and all that I can’t hand off control to something that’ll misspell things or not say what I want, because in the end, the person on the other end gets the message from me, not Siri.

  4. The weakest link in Siri, in my opinion, is the dependence on the Internet to translate the request, return to the user to confirm the request and then present the information requested. If you’re someplace with spotty Internet, then it’s a crap shoot if you get what you wanted. Even on the  TV Siri has a hard time staying connected with wifi. There needs to be onboard voice recognition so your interfacing is instantaneous. It amazes me how using the dictation button on the keyboard works quickly and pretty flawlessly, but Siri can’t seem to execute as well.

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