“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”
If you’ve ever had an interaction with Siri, chances are you’ve heard this phrase. She’s (or He’s, depending on how you have your settings adjusted) available to tell you who Barack Obama is, how windy it is outside or who you want to call. Yet the ratio of her understanding your wants and correctly following through is sometimes less than admirable.
How many people do you know who use Siri?
If you’re anything like me, Siri has become the other woman in our relationship. My husband loves making vocal commands to his iPhone. I, on the other hand, get frustrated hearing him yell repeatedly to try to get Siri to understand what he really wanted from her when he could’ve found what he needed by just using his thumb muscles to look it up himself.
This problem isn’t isolated to our household. Look at #Sirifail on Twitter and you’ll find example after example of times when Siri missed the mark – big time.
Funny Siri Fails
Most of the time, Siri’s fails are amusing.
For example, don’t try anything in a foreign country or language. You might end up in Paris, when you really wanted to go to Peru.
Or, she might think you’re calling her a “grassy ass” when you’re just trying to politely say “thank you” in Spanish.
And don’t expect her to buy you a present on your birthday.
One Twitter user recently discovered just how insulting Siri can be when he asked, “Siri, what is zero divided by zero?”
On the screen, her answer was indeterminate, but her description was downright rude. When asked this question, Siri says, “Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends.”
More Serious Siri Fails
Yes, most of the time when Siri fails, it’s cause for a few giggles. But once in a while a Siri fail can turn a little more controversial.
Most recently, Siri (and of course, her parent Apple) came under fire for being sexist. Americans turned to Siri to get updates on the exciting FIFA Women’s World Cup. When asked, Siri couldn’t deliver – not because she simply didn’t have the information, but because she didn’t even know about the Women’s World Cup.
This isn’t the first time she’s created a stir. Siri isn’t always supportive of people struggling with problems, such as alcohol or gambling.
She’s also not the right person to turn to in the event of a medical emergency.
The Current State of Virtual Assistant Technology
Considering Siri is the face of the intelligent virtual assistant market, how far have we really come with this technology? Is this really the wave of the future? Or is it just a fun gimmick that will soon become a past craze?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many statistics about how and how much this technology is being used on a regular basis (if you find them, I’d love to see).
If Transparency Market Research is anywhere on track with their estimates, Siri and other intelligent virtual assistants will continue to grow in popularity among smartphone users. The global intelligent virtual assistant market is set to grow at a CAGR of 30.6% through 2019.
An infographic by beSirious.com shows how a small subset of surveyed smartphone users uses Siri (or why they don’t use Siri).
- 77% use Siri to set a reminder
- 73% use Siri to set an alarm
- 70% use Siri to set a calendar date
- 67% use Siri to conduct a search on the Web
- 63% use Siri to look up the weather
This is surprising. It goes against many people’s belief that Siri is primarily used for making calls or sending text messages while driving. Yet, according to this specific survey, most people use Siri for basic tasks, such as setting up reminders, alarms and calendar dates. These tasks are much like those of human assistants.
Although she’s being commissioned to help, not everyone is sold on her aptitude. Among non-users, 53% said they don’t turn to Siri for answers because of how many errors she produces, and 49% said the poor answers were enough to deter their usage of this technology.
The technology remains up in the air. While there are plenty of improvements that need to happen before this technology will be able to truly replace a human assistant, many people are still holding down their “Home” buttons for a chance to avoid exercising their thumbs while making a quick update to their schedules.