Siri Co-Founder Suggests Apple is 'Looking for a Level of Perfection They Can't Get' With Assistant

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Since Siri's introduction in the iPhone 4s in 2011, responses to Apple's AI assistant have often weighed towards the unfavorable side, most recently in several HomePod reviews that specified Siri as one of the biggest downsides of owning the speaker. This week, Siri creator, co-founder, and former board member Norman Winarsky added in his own commentary about the assistant's current state, saying that he didn't think this is where Siri would be at this point (via Quartz).

    In 2008 Siri began as spin-off of SRI International, where Winarsky was the President, and eventually launched as an app for iOS in February 2010. Two months later Apple acquired Siri, and just over a year after that introduced it within the iPhone 4s, shutting down the standalone app shortly thereafter. Seven years later, Winarsky said that Siri's capabilities have fallen short of his earlier predictions for where he thought the assistant, and Apple's development, would end up.


    Specifically, Winarsky's comments focus on what Siri's intention was "pre-Apple" versus where the assistant is today. According to the co-founder, Siri was originally meant to be incredibly intelligent in just a few key areas -- travel and entertainment -- and then "gradually extend to related areas" once it mastered each. Apple's acquisition pivoted Siri to an all-encompassing life assistant, and Winarsky said that this decision has likely led Apple to search "for a level of perfection they can't get."
    Last September, Apple VP of marketing Greg Joswiak commented on a few aspects of Siri's development, stating that Apple's aim from the beginning has been to make Siri a "get-s**t-done" machine. Joswiak did a series of interviews around the same time last September, after Siri leadership moved to Craig Federighi and before the assistant's six year birthday. In one, he discussed the claim that Siri development has been hindered by Apple's commitment to privacy, describing these reports as "a false narrative."

    The original Siri Assistant iOS app

    Winarsky didn't specifically comment on Apple's focus on privacy and how that could be a factor in Siri's development, but he did state that there's one simple factor absent from Siri today: "Surprise and delight is kind of missing right now."

    Article Link: Siri Co-Founder Suggests Apple is 'Looking for a Level of Perfection They Can't Get' With Assistant
  2. H.E. Pennypacker macrumors 6502

    H.E. Pennypacker

    Oct 23, 2017
    Maybe Apple should be focusing on making Siri a legit assistant first.
  3. Greenmeenie macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2013
    I never liked the name Siri. Hey Siri? Seriously? They should change it to "Yo Apple!" Make it brand identifiable like Okay Google.
  4. RogueWarrior65 macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2003
    Redondo Beach, CA
    I have to say that Siri sucks in a some really basic areas. One problem I have is that if I ask Siri on my locked iPhone to look something up, she'll say, "I found a few references for you. Take a look." but I can't take a look because the phone is locked. If I unlock it, those references go away and I have to start over. You'd think that she'd be able to read the wikipedia summary.

    Here's another one. My iPhone has GPS. If it's moving, GPS can tell you how fast you are going. One time, I was driving along an interstate and my speedometer cable broke. So I thought, "I'll ask Siri." "Hey Siri, how fast am I going?" She says, "I've been wondering that for a while." Yeah, thanks, smart ass.

    You'd think that Apple gathered data on things people ask Siri to do that she says she can't and come up with a prioritized list of capabilities to add but she doesn't appear to be improving.
  5. LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
  6. Pbrutto macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2015
    Eastern PA
    Unfortunately, Siri is just part of a whole host of software problems right now at Apple. I think Siri is more of a constant disappointment than anything else. I personally am not even upset with what she can and cant do...I take issue with her lack of speech recognition. When she came out, I understood it, but now that she is required to talk to my HomePod or Apple Watch, it is pathetic the number of errors she gets in speech. I tried whispering, shouting, holding my watch/phone closer, loud rooms, quiet rooms, airplanes, cars, crowded rooms, empty rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, hallways, stairwells, stadiums, boats...etc. etc.....she CANNOT understand me accurately enough no matter what the surrounding or device. I know my girlfriend regularly has the same issue (although admittedly a bit less than me). I think its one thing for recognition to be poor, but once you introduce a device (like the watch) that all but requires voice input....there are no excuses for poor recognition. Let’s not even talk about complex requests....
  7. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    What if Siri had access to the camera and audio? Understand your body language to detect mood, people and animals in the room and know them by name, commenting on what is happening on your favorite TV show, or adding additional information to a news event, alarm going off in the morning and you are not getting up, all kinds of things.
  8. Arcus macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2004
    of my hand will get me slapped.
    Right now I just want it to be as good as the Google Assistant. Why the hell it cant just read me the Wikipedia article I dont understand!
  9. DeftwillP macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2011
    Airpods would be perfect if they had more than just 2 physical triggers to activate something and didn't rely on siri for more than that.
  10. Markoth macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2015
    Behind You
    Joswiak sounds like a combination of Jobs and Wozniak.

    This must mean something...
  11. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    Siri is disabled on all of my Apple devices. It's a useless piece of s**t.
  12. macfacts macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2012
  13. Radon87000 macrumors 604

    Nov 29, 2013
    Siri is so bad I resorted to using the Google Assistant widget for my tasks
  14. jedwards87 Suspended

    May 21, 2015
    Yo Apple and Hey Google are very cold and impersonal. The Google crowd are begging Google to give them options other than Hey/Ok Google.
  15. AmazingRobie, Mar 9, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2018

    AmazingRobie macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    These are the types of people working on products at Apple now. Good job, Jobs, leaving an inept bag of ***** in charge of your legacy. Good j-o-b.
  16. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    I really think it comes down to privacy. Siri doesn't invade your privacy like Google Now does, so it can't help you as well as Google Now did when I used it for 6 brief months with a Nexus 4. Google just knew things about, it was creepy but so helpful.

    I honestly think Siri would improve with one toggle in Settings. Invade Privacy? Yes/No
  17. Xavier macrumors 68030

    Mar 23, 2006
    I love Siri and i use it every day on my phone. It keeps getting better and better.
  18. JerryDon macrumors newbie


    Nov 2, 2016
    Dublin California
  19. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

    Sep 21, 2012
    Interesting peace of paper. Especially as it ofers some insights that there seem to be some global architecture limitations in Siri's overall design. So maybe Apple is already working on a Siri 2.0?
  20. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    On a recent road trip, Siri seems to lack location awareness and contextual awareness, as well as being oddly hard of hearing. I had to ditch Siri and use Google Assistant, because Siri failed at understanding most queries about locations and hours of operation for local businesses we needed to visit.
  21. dude-x macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2007
    New York City
    An Apple engineer told me that the reason why Siri (and other ML services) from Apple is a bit behind because there is very little information sharing from all the teams. So if Photos uses ML and Siri uses ML, they are reinventing the wheel twice. Unlike Google which shares all the code that's ever written with its engineers.

    Enforcing privacy is not really an issue.
  22. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    Just ask Siri "When does winter end?" and see how smart she is. (For those not wanting to test it, she claims March 19th 2019.)
  23. JosephAW macrumors 68020


    May 14, 2012
    I didn't know Nuance was connected to Siri. Are they still involved? IMG_4591.PNG And no, computers don't think.
  24. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    Siri could be better. But it will take Apple letting up on data mining. Siri is really sandboxed right now. To be better it needs data.
  25. brofkand macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2006
    That's always been my biggest issue with Siri. They've programmed her to be a smartass when she doesn't know the answer to something. It gets to be so frustrating after a while.

    My biggest problem with Siri is not that she's can't do everything - no voice assistant can. It's that she so often gets what I'm saying totally wrong. Hey Google has nearly perfect voice recognition by comparison, in addition to being more fully featured.

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