How Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant lost the A.I. race

Apple’s Siri is a virtual assistant that’s built into Apple’s iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS, and audioOS operating systems. It purportedly uses voice queries, gesture based control, focus-tracking, and a natural-language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services.

HomePod is packed with Apple innovations, Siri intelligence, and smart home capabilities, while delivering a truly groundbreaking listening experience.
Apple’s HomePod feature Siri voice control

Brian X. Chen, Nico Grant and Karen Weise for The New York Times:

On a rainy Tuesday in San Francisco, Apple executives took the stage in a crowded auditorium to unveil the fifth-generation iPhone. The phone, which looked identical to the previous version, had a new feature that the audience was soon buzzing about: Siri, a virtual assistant.

Scott Forstall, then Apple’s head of software, [said]… “I’ve been in the A.I. field for a long time, and this still blows me away,” Mr. Forstall said.
That was 12 years ago. Since then, people have been far from blown away by Siri and competing assistants that are powered by artificial intelligence, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The technology has largely remained stagnant, and the talking assistants have become the butt of jokes…

The tech world is now gushing over a different kind of virtual assistant: chatbots. These A.I.-powered bots, such as ChatGPT and the new ChatGPT Plus from the San Francisco company OpenAI, can improvise answers to questions typed into a chat box with alacrity. People have used ChatGPT to handle complex tasks like coding software, drafting business proposals and writing fiction.

And ChatGPT, which uses A.I. to guess what word comes next, is rapidly improving. A few months ago, it couldn’t write a proper haiku; now it can do so with gusto. On Tuesday, OpenAI unveiled its next-generation A.I. engine, GPT-4, which powers ChatGPT.

The excitement around chatbots illustrates how Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants — which once elicited similar enthusiasm — have squandered their lead in the A.I. race.

Over the past decade, the products hit roadblocks. Siri ran into technological hurdles, including clunky code that took weeks to update with basic features, said John Burkey, a former Apple engineer who worked on the assistant. Amazon and Google miscalculated how the voice assistants would be used, leading them to invest in areas with the technology that rarely paid off, former employees said. When those experiments failed, enthusiasm for the technology waned at the companies, they said.

MacDailyNews Take: All is not lost. Rest assured, Apple is hard at work removing the “Hey” from “Hey Siri.”

After twelve years, Siri is as smart as those programming it. Channeling Steve Jobs: If you’re on the Siri team today, you suck. You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation. You should hate each other for having let each other down.

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  1. Currently, Apple has just been completely antiquated by AI, and Microsoft with Copliot. AI is THAT GOOD. NOBODY will want to be without it. Create a presentation from a Word document… that saves HOURS and HOURS.

    There is no going back, and having to manually fiddle with things like IFTT has also just been wiped out by the deep AI integration that Microsoft has brought to its suit of applications.

    I’m an Apple person, but have to use Microsoft 365 at work. I have to say, that with the new AI, using Apple software is now all of a sudden feeling really old and completely outdated.

    I’m sure Apple will respond, and I know Apple has been working on AI for over 30 years. The question is, how and when will they respond. They need to hurry up.

  2. People are acting like this is something that Apple or Google can’t simply bolt on to their existing products just like Microsoft did. Microsoft may have an early lead, but it will be short lived.

    Also, regardless of which AI platform is used, people still need hardware to run it on. Last I checked, Apple sells hardware.

    1. Microsoft invested $10 billion into Chat GPT. You are totally missing the point.

      If Apple can’t differentiate itself and get ahead of this it cannot LEAD in this technology. The problem for Apple is that we are entering a new era of computing with AI and there is no clear path for them to lead and dominate marketshare.

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