While Siri did get smarter with the launch of iOS 10, it’s still widely believed that the Apple’s virtual assistant lags behind offering from Google and even the original creators of Siri. Today, tech veteran Walt Mossberg penned a column that asks the question, “Why does Siri seem so dumb?”
Throughout the piece, which highlights a variety of common complaints with Siri, Mossberg notes of discussions he’s had with Apple concerning Siri’s flaws. One interesting tidbit is that Apple is constantly improving the platform. So often so that after Mossberg tweeted some of the broken responses from Siri that he cites in his article, Apple fixed the responses.
Additionally, Apple pointed out to Mossberg that it tends to focus more on tasks that are used everyday, such as sending texts and placing phone calls, as opposed to “long tail” questions. Long tail questions are things that are slightly more complex. Mossberg points to, “When is the presidential debate?” as an example. Apple claims that long tail questions, however, account to just a few hundred queries per day.
Apple stressed to me that it’s constantly improving Siri, and also stressed that it focuses its Siri efforts on the kinds of tasks that it says millions of people ask every day: placing phone calls, sending texts, and finding places. It puts much less emphasis on what it calls “long tail” questions, like the ones I’ve cited above, which in some cases, Apple says, number in only the hundreds each day.”
Mossberg’s piece comes at an interesting time, given that the original creators of Siri recently had their latest AI assistant ‘Viv’ acquired by Samsung. The original team behind Siri has come out and said that it never intended for the platform to turn into the “clever AI chatbot” that Apple has made it.
Additionally, Google recently announced its new Pixel smartphones with the intelligent “Assistant” platform built-in. In his article, Mossberg points out that every question Siri couldn’t answer, Google Now could. Google Assistant is even more powerful.
Siri got smarter with iOS 10, but it’s still not smart enough in a world where AI is becoming increasingly important. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Apple is working to improve the platform as time progresses.