Apple Exec Overseeing Siri Departs Role

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Bill Stasior, who has been heading up Apple's Siri team since 2012, recently left his role as the leader of the voice assistant group, reports The Information.

Stasior was recruited from Amazon in 2012 to oversee Siri following the departure of Siri co-founders Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus. Cheyer and Kittlaus had joined Apple when the company originally purchased Siri in 2010, but did not stay long.


According to The Information, Stasior has stepped down from his role as leader of Siri but has not left Apple. The change in leadership is part of a restructuring effort by John Giannandrea, Apple's senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, who has taken over the Siri team.

Giannandrea, who has been pushing the Siri team to "focus more on long-term research" rather than incremental improvements, will be looking for a replacement for Stasior.

Giannandrea joined Apple in April 2018 as chief of machine learning and AI strategy, and at the time, it was reported that he would be overseeing both the Core ML and Siri teams. Ginnandrea was later promoted to SVP in December 2018.

Prior to joining Apple, Giannandrea spent eight years at Google, and in the time before that, he founded two companies, Tellme Networks and Metaweb Technologies.

Giannandrea's hiring came amid widespread criticism of Siri, which has shortcomings in comparison to AI offerings from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Apple made serious strides improving Siri in 2018 under Giannandrea's leadership, building out the capabilities of the AI assistant with features like Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12.

Article Link: Apple Exec Overseeing Siri Departs Role
 

MallardDuck

macrumors 6502
Jul 21, 2014
402
719
"Serious improvements?" Seriously? Shortcuts are workarounds because the engine is deficient.

Siri still can't even reliably place calls to contacts, instead you get, 'Here's what I found on the web for XXX'. Voice recognition is right up there with Dragon Dictate circa 1993. 'hey siri' invariably turns into 'hold the home button', and on and on.

Siri needs a new pair of ears, and a better brain.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,852
8,781
Austin, TX
Apple should hire Alexa’s Exec so Siri could actually become smart. And I’m an Apple fan.
Apple should just dump Siri and allow you to choose between the actual voice assistants.
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Apple should just use Alexia instead, Siri will never catch up it seems but I know probably would be an issue which sucks
Apple could also head up a consortium to develop a new assistant as a global, open source standard for AI in North America and beyond.

But they wouldn't do that.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,708
3,702
Apple should hire Alexa’s Exec so Siri could actually become smart. And I’m an Apple fan.
Alexa may be more versatile thanks to Amazon opening the door to developers to create ‘skills’ but I find her far from intelligent. I’m far more optimistic having Giannandrea and all of his experience from Google at the helm. The Google Assistant is miles ahead of everyone else and if he can bring even a portion of its performance to Siri, it’ll be a huge leap forward from where she stands now.
 
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edwrap

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2012
49
35
Can you even attribute Siri Shortcuts to Giannandrea if he joined Apple in April of 2018? Seems like that feature would’ve been well underway by that point.

Good move, though. Siri has been a joke for awhile now, even if not always deservedly so, and there needed to be a change in leadership there.
 

genovelle

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,005
791
Apple should just use Alexia instead, Siri will never catch up it seems but I know probably would be an issue which sucks
There nothing really useful alexa does better in my opinion. The things I’ve seen people use it for like playing songs, I’ve done on iPhone by voice long before Alexa or even Siri existed.
 

chublet

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2018
48
48
Siri is by far the worst thing I have ever encountered with Apple, and years ago we were issued Newtons at work!

I cannot believe that a 'personal assistant' would be released that cannot understand the most basic commands or questions, and has never once been able to identify music that I wanted it to play - it is now disabled on all my devices.

Alexa may not be perfect but at least she can play music and tell me the weather...
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,852
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Austin, TX
There nothing really useful alexa does better in my opinion. The things I’ve seen people use it for like playing songs, I’ve done on iPhone by voice long before Alexa or even Siri existed.
I'm inclined to agree. There's no machine learning there. It's a bunch of skills which work well but the actual brain of the thing doesn't seem to be getting any smarter.
 
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confusedpurple

macrumors member
Sep 12, 2018
53
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I'm inclined to agree. There's no machine learning there. It's a bunch of skills which work well but the actual brain of the thing doesn't seem to be getting any smarter.
I agree I don't find alexa to be 'smart' - it stumbles all the time.

But compared to Siri it's on a whole other level, mainly due to installable skills, but even more because it can learn and update without you needing to do anything. The weekly 'whats new with alexa' emails are full of new features. I can't remember the last time Siri added a feature.

One thing I have found is Alexa has got way better at predicting what you've said. If you mumble or mess up a word, its at the point where it can almost always figure out what you were trying to say. Siri can't do that at all and just feels very dated and 'dumb'.

Apple have no excuse for Siri, its just so far behind now that its not even funny.

The one thing Amazon has got so right is their attitude towards developers. They come across as very open. Apple come across as arrogant and afraid to open up to the outside world, which is mind bogglingly idiotic when its to freely provide your ai platform with more intelligence.
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
11,852
8,781
Austin, TX
Joy to the world, Bill Stasior down!!!
Instead of doubling down on secrecy (which has never worked), it time to octuple down on AI and customer communication.
This is simply a wiser approach. Privacy is great, but Apple is trustworthy enough users should be able to opt into contributing to a better digital assistant.
 
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