According to Google, Siri is…

Have you bought the new iPhone assuming that Siri, Apple’s famous “intelligent assistant”, would let you use your phone with your voice? Are you disappointed by its actual performance?

This is exactly the case of Frank Fazio, a US citizen who is suing Apple for false advertising.

Fazio alleges that Siri has actually nothing to do with the Siri shown in Apple’s ads.

Only one man is not statistically relevant enough to evaluate a whole new technology, so let’s ask what Google has to say about it.

At the time of this writing, typing “siri is” in Google’s autocomplete feature in the US shows these intriguing suggestions:

I was talking to a loyal iPhone user just yesterday; she has always been impressed and delighted by Apple’s iPhone applications, capabilities and look & feel, so I asked her about her opinion about Siri, and this is what she said: “siri sucks”

So I decided to make my own research in the area using Google and searching “siri sucks” (including quotes) and I found 24,100 results (in 0.15 seconds), which is quite impressive. I’ve seen many comments like this one: “Siri seems to be completely useless and i wanted to see if others are also experiencing problems” Why is that? We have already posted in our blog post 5 reasons natural language search might not work for your company and I think Siri dangerously combines at least 2 of these reasons:

  • it is supposedly language-independent (although it is not very good even in English)
  • it is 100% domain independent

If this was just not enough, Siri adds a new layer of complexity on top of all that: voice recognition. Automatically recognizing speech with the help of a computer is a difficult task and the reason for this is the complexity of the human language. Humans use more than just their ears when understanding spoken language: our brain is able to split a chain of sounds into words; those words are not arbitrarily sequenced together, there is an underlying grammatical structure and there are redundancies that humans use to predict words not yet spoken; besides, we use the previous knowledge we have about the speaker, the topic and the situation in which the conversation takes place to understand the message we are hearing.

At Inbenta we devote our time to providing technology that gives relevant answers to 95% of user questions. And this is because we work with rather closed contextual environments. So, how many questions is Siri answering successfully right now? I hope Google could help me with this question according to this autocomplete.

But the result was disappointing.

So we will have to wait until we have a better answer to this key question!

Jordi Torras

Founder and CEO of Inbenta

Inbenta Team
by Inbenta Team