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By Dan Moren for Macworld
Siri’s problem: Not quite human enough, yet
These days, our lives are littered with the half-built scaffoldings of intelligent assistants and virtual agents. Voice-based interfaces are at a level with technologies like home automation and virtual reality: Popular enough to have seeped into our lives, but not yet refined enough that they have become fixtures for most of us.
Apple’s version of Siri turns five years old this month, but as I’ve before discussed, it doesn’t seem to have progressed as much as one might have hoped. This week, veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg penned a scathing indictment of Apple’s voice-based assistant, in which he posed the question that most of us have asked at one time or another: “why does Siri seem so dumb?”
He’s not wrong. While I’ve had better luck than Mossberg in some of my interactions with the feature, I run up against rough edges pretty much every single time I try to use Siri for anything. Most of my iPhone-using friends tend to view Siri as more of a curiosity than a useful tool. Last year I put forth some ideas about what a Siri 2.0 should include, but let’s take a step back and look at the bigger issues here.