The Misunderstandings and Shortcomings of Siri

Dave Mark recently wrote on The Loop about his problems with Siri on the HomePod to play a specific album that he wanted.

Dave doesn’t believe this is an issue with Siri and her (its?) ability to translate and parse text, but a collaboration issue.

Now, you might think this is a complaint about Siri’s ability to parse my spoken words. Not at all. I find Siri to be excellent at translating spoken word to text.

And:

…I see the basic ability to go back and forth as a critical next step for Siri and, especially for HomePod Siri. And I think homing in on what music you want to play is a perfect sandbox for Siri to play and learn in.

I don’t think it’s the lack of a conversational back-and-forth, that’s the issue. It’s something deeper.

I’ve had many issues with Siri in the past, most frustratingly, when she perfectly understanding a request (as visually indicated on screen), but for some reason, carries out an unexpected result:

Siri understands a request, but doesn't execute correctly.

Siri understands a request, but doesn't execute correctly.

Siri understands a request, but doesn't execute correctly.

You can see in the first two screenshots that Siri knows the album “Science Fiction” by Brand New, but for whatever reason, didn’t play it. Apple Support was completely useless on this, too. They wanted me to factory reset my phone, which is a ridiculous suggestion for a solution to this problem.

While I agree, collaboration and conversation is definitely the next step in all of the major AI platforms.- Siri, Google, and Alexa. I’ve never used Alexa, but Google Assistant is pretty good at some of the basic conversations and multiple commands in one verbal exchange.

Siri, however, is woefully behind. The news out last week is not surprising, but is depressing for the millions of people who have bought into the Apple ecosystem. I’ve written a WWDC wishlist for the past 3 or four events, and every year the top item has been overhauls and improvements to Siri. Apple needs to catch up and close the gap on the shortcomings of Siri.

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