Why I Think Siri Is a Dumb Assistant

Over a year ago, I was discussing the differences between Siri and Google Now with a friend.  He thought Siri was friendlier because it would respond to the statement “I’m hungry”, and find you places to eat.  Google Now was a little more mechanical at the time, but if you knew the phrasing, you could get the same results, and often better results because of Google’s trove of data.  At the time, I pointed out that Siri gave the same results if you said “I am not hungry”.  In other words, Siri didn’t really know what you were saying, it was just keying off of “hungry”.

Fast forward to now.  Siri still can’t tell the difference between “I am hungry” and “I am not hungry”.  There is no smarts in Siri’s language processing.  Google Assistant, Google’s new AI platform, actually does understand the difference.  If you say “I’m hungry”, it finds you places to eat.  If you tell it it, “I am not hungry”, it just response with “Oh, okay”.  Google Assistant is still in its infancy, but you can begin to see the future as their engine gets smarter.

Siri, on the other hand, is just as bad now as it was eighteen months ago.  So while this is a pretty simple example, if it Siri can’t yet understand a simple example, I’m just gonna call it dumb and never try it again.

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