Leetaur's Blog

Two Views on Apple's Siri


I ran across a couple of posts today concerning Apple's artificial intelligence, and digital assistant, Siri for the iPhone and iPad.  The first once takes a very negative tone toward Siri (and a very pro-Google tone).

It is called Siri Is a Gimmick and a Tease .  

The second article took a very positive approach to Apple's digital assistant technology.  It is called Is Siri really Apple’s future?  It also compares Siri with Google Voice, Google's technology that allows you to search for what you want using voice input, rather than the traditional typed-command input.

The second article made an interesting observation between the different strategies that Apple and Google are taking.  One is a fat-client App-Centered strategy, with integration with integration between different apps on the phone providing useful features to the end-user.  This is Siri.  The other is Google's strategy, which is more of the thin-client, do it on the web strategy.  

(Note:  Google is using an "App" to pursue this strategy, so take that assertion from the article for what it is worth.)

Here is a quote from the article:

Therein comes the web browser vs. apps unholy war. A conventional search engine like Google has to maintain an unpalatable level of click-stream snooping to track your financial transactions to build your purchasing profile. That’s not easy (likely illegal on several continents) especially if you’re not constantly using Google Play or Google Wallet, for example. While your credit card history or your bank account is opaque to Google, your Amex or Chase app has all that info. If you allow Siri to securely link to such apps on your iPhone, because this is a 
             highly selective
 request and you trust Siri/Apple, your app and/or Siri can actually interpret what “nice” is
             within your budget:
 up to $85 this month and certainly not in the $150-$250 range and not a $25 hole-in-the wall Chinese restaurant either because it’s your mother’s birthday.

I haven't followed the author's of the articles, Farhad Manjoo and Kontra respectively, so I don't know if there is any "fanboy" or "anti-fanboy" in their views regarding Apple and Google.  But even if there is, the high-level views about there the industry is going, and what will be useful to end users, is worth the read of the two articles, which analyzes voice recognition from different angles.

From my perspective, the technology that people use on a day to day basis is getting smaller.  While I use a laptop for anything serious, I do realize that I now use a laptop, not a desktop.  I almost always have it with me, and the battery will last me all day.  

Using Steve Jobs' analogy when Apple launched the iPad, these are todays "trucks".  But more and more people are moving to tablet computers (iPad, Nexus 7, Kindle, Surface, etc), which are more portable, and then Smart Phones are great for quick tasks, and they have extreme portability (and interesting technology coming in the future).

As we move to smaller and smaller tech, voice input will become more important.  Typing on tiny screens or keyboards (for phones that still have physical keyboards) is a pain, and if the majority of tasks can be accomplished via voice-input, that makes these small devices that much more useful.

It will be interesting to see where things go in the next few years.  Hopefully my efforts will help move things forward as well :)