Apple's Siri-based Echo competitor rumored to borrow design cues from Mac Pro, could arriv...

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  • Reply 81 of 86
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 805member
    Soli said:
    gatorguy said:
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?
    Examples: "schedule a meeting with my wife at 11 AM tomorrow" appears as "meeting" (instead of "meeting with your wife"). 

    Brian is a new prospect that I never met before who called me. I want to meet him tomorrow at 11 am. " set up a meeting about the widget with Brian tomorrow at 11 AM" - Siri asks "which Brian" and gives me a list of Brians in my Contacts but of course this Brian is not in my Contacts. This throws Siri off the deep end as I answer "none of these" (which is actually an option in the list Siri presented), Siri just keeps showing the same list and asking "which one" over and over again. 

    Asking on Friday morning "what is the weather like in North Norfolk " gives me the weather in Virginia, US although I am sitting in London, I have a Norfolk, England address in my Profile in Contacts as one of my home addresses, and the IPhone tracking shows that I spend almost every weekend there. 

    Not only does Siri not understand names very well, but if you ask to call someone, it often goes ahead with the call without checking. Try to have a friend called Jukub and your CEO called Jacob in your Contacts and call Jukub .... Siri calls the wrong person so many times, it has been quite embarrassing. 

    This is catastrophic. It's like a magic trick that bumbles. Sure, it does some simple things well, sometimes, if you use specific sentence structures, like setting a timer (but only one at a time....) or the alarm, but i just don't think that is very exciting. 

    I like Siri, as a UI for some simple tasks on Apple Apps, but it is not an "assistant". 

    An assistant would be able to to write a shopping list, and then allow me to interact with it, as in "Siri, I bought apples, kitchen paper, and asparagus, what else is on my list"? 

    As to AI, I think Apple is just at a major disadvantage because they don't have the web indexed like Gooogle.  Google will be able to answer a question like: how many tigers are still In India years before Apple because, well, that is what Google does and they have every webpage indexed, know readership of them, time of upload, know every web search ever done, etc. Apple is at least one step removed from the worlds data, if not more, and it will be difficult to close that gap. 
    You're doing it wrong. 

    1) It's not supposed to say "meeting with my wife" — it will create "meeting" because you didn't give it a subject, and add your wife to the attendees list. If you said "Schedule a meeting with my wife 11am tomorrow about Siri problems", it will create a meeting with her as the attendee and give it a title of "Siri problems". If Siri doesn't know who your wife is, she'll ask and link a contact to that term for future use.

    2) Figure out how to ask it in a way it understands then. I just tried "What's the weather like in Norfolk England" and it did Virginia. But I tried again with "Norfolk UK" and it worked. So, modify your behavior slightly for now.

    3) Teach Siri! "Can I teach you how to pronounce Jukub" and she'll ask you to pronounce first and last names and give you options as to which of her pronunciations sound most correct. Alternately you can go to your Contact for Jukub and say "Can I teach you how to pronounce this". I would teach her both contacts as having different pronunciations, as well as their last names.

    4) Re: shopping list — "Siri, add coffee to Shopping list" and "Siri, remove coffee from Shopping list" and "Siri, read me my Shopping list" all work just fine. I don't think you can throw a list of items to delete all at once, so don't do that.


    IMO an effective "personal assistant" shouldn't need such precise phrasing to understand your request. I think that's the type of improvement that other posters in this thread are hoping for if/when this device rolls out. With the meeting issue specifically some other personal assistant apps properly log "Meeting with wife" when the OP's original phrasing is used for the request. It's not the OP doing it wrong, it's the app not yet working as well as it should. 
    I think the OP's statement is incomplete. Human languages and the way human's interact are inherently flawed. While we can build machines to be better to expect that the human element isn't responsible for what they say is not a viable argument.

    Let's not turn everything into a Three's Company episode. We see it on this semi-technical forum every day—someone makes a poorly thought out comment, someone responds to it after scratching their head, and then that person comes back with "that's not what I meant," when they couldn't spend a few extra seconds to clearly, elaborate, and remove ambiguity from their statement. We're all guilty of this no matter how hard some of try to be clear.

    This is why sflagel's statement about a meeting titled "Brian" for a person not yet in his contacts ultimately falls on him. He's responsible for his audience, which in this case is Siri, and since we know that Siri isn't set up for asking "Which Brian?" and then allowing you to say "None of them" and then asking "Would you like me to set up a meeting titled Brian?" we can't blame the limitation on the product no more than I can blame my car for not being a Leer jet.
    That's not quite fair to insinuate that my expectation of Siri is the same as asking a car to be a Lear Jet. If Siri responds "which Brian" and one of the Options in "none of them", I think it is perfectly acceptable to expect that Siri will not go into an Infinite Loop when I chose that option. It's like expecting your car to have front lights in case it gets dark, and those front lights to turn on when you switch the lever.

    Similarly, one can rightfully expect that when no subject is stated, that the assistant will add the name of the attendee to the subject (or "Meeting with various people including your wife" if more than one attendee is named).

    But beyond this specific glaringly bad product design, a "Personal Assistant" that requires you to use only a small sample of possible very specific words and phrases, and thus learn these by heart, is like Lotus 1.2.3 on MS-DOS, requiring a steep learning curve. Such an "assistant", in my view, is a catastrophic product to launch into a consumer environment.
  • Reply 82 of 86
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 805member

     How would Siri ever know you're talking about someone you have no record of in your phone? It's perfectly reasonable to assume it will look for a person in your Contacts. 
    Because one of the Options Siri presents when showing me all Brians is "none of these". So I think it is perfectly acceptable to assume that Siri can then set up a meeting in my Calendar "Meeting with Brian". 
  • Reply 83 of 86
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,213member

    gatorguy said:
    Soli said:
    gatorguy said:
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?
    Examples: "schedule a meeting with my wife at 11 AM tomorrow" appears as "meeting" (instead of "meeting with your wife"). 

    Brian is a new prospect that I never met before who called me. I want to meet him tomorrow at 11 am. " set up a meeting about the widget with Brian tomorrow at 11 AM" - Siri asks "which Brian" and gives me a list of Brians in my Contacts but of course this Brian is not in my Contacts. This throws Siri off the deep end as I answer "none of these" (which is actually an option in the list Siri presented), Siri just keeps showing the same list and asking "which one" over and over again. 

    Asking on Friday morning "what is the weather like in North Norfolk " gives me the weather in Virginia, US although I am sitting in London, I have a Norfolk, England address in my Profile in Contacts as one of my home addresses, and the IPhone tracking shows that I spend almost every weekend there. 

    Not only does Siri not understand names very well, but if you ask to call someone, it often goes ahead with the call without checking. Try to have a friend called Jukub and your CEO called Jacob in your Contacts and call Jukub .... Siri calls the wrong person so many times, it has been quite embarrassing. 

    This is catastrophic. It's like a magic trick that bumbles. Sure, it does some simple things well, sometimes, if you use specific sentence structures, like setting a timer (but only one at a time....) or the alarm, but i just don't think that is very exciting. 

    I like Siri, as a UI for some simple tasks on Apple Apps, but it is not an "assistant". 

    An assistant would be able to to write a shopping list, and then allow me to interact with it, as in "Siri, I bought apples, kitchen paper, and asparagus, what else is on my list"? 

    As to AI, I think Apple is just at a major disadvantage because they don't have the web indexed like Gooogle.  Google will be able to answer a question like: how many tigers are still In India years before Apple because, well, that is what Google does and they have every webpage indexed, know readership of them, time of upload, know every web search ever done, etc. Apple is at least one step removed from the worlds data, if not more, and it will be difficult to close that gap. 
    You're doing it wrong. 

    1) It's not supposed to say "meeting with my wife" — it will create "meeting" because you didn't give it a subject, and add your wife to the attendees list. If you said "Schedule a meeting with my wife 11am tomorrow about Siri problems", it will create a meeting with her as the attendee and give it a title of "Siri problems". If Siri doesn't know who your wife is, she'll ask and link a contact to that term for future use.

    2) Figure out how to ask it in a way it understands then. I just tried "What's the weather like in Norfolk England" and it did Virginia. But I tried again with "Norfolk UK" and it worked. So, modify your behavior slightly for now.

    3) Teach Siri! "Can I teach you how to pronounce Jukub" and she'll ask you to pronounce first and last names and give you options as to which of her pronunciations sound most correct. Alternately you can go to your Contact for Jukub and say "Can I teach you how to pronounce this". I would teach her both contacts as having different pronunciations, as well as their last names.

    4) Re: shopping list — "Siri, add coffee to Shopping list" and "Siri, remove coffee from Shopping list" and "Siri, read me my Shopping list" all work just fine. I don't think you can throw a list of items to delete all at once, so don't do that.


    IMO an effective "personal assistant" shouldn't need such precise phrasing to understand your request. I think that's the type of improvement that other posters in this thread are hoping for if/when this device rolls out. With the meeting issue specifically some other personal assistant apps properly log "Meeting with wife" when the OP's original phrasing is used for the request. It's not the OP doing it wrong, it's the app not yet working as well as it should. 
    I think the OP's statement is incomplete. Human languages and the way human's interact are inherently flawed. While we can build machines to be better to expect that the human element isn't responsible for what they say is not a viable argument.

    Let's not turn everything into a Three's Company episode. We see it on this semi-technical forum every day—someone makes a poorly thought out comment, someone responds to it after scratching their head, and then that person comes back with "that's not what I meant," when they couldn't spend a few extra seconds to clearly, elaborate, and remove ambiguity from their statement. We're all guilty of this no matter how hard some of try to be clear.

    This is why sflagel's statement about a meeting titled "Brian" for a person not yet in his contacts ultimately falls on him. He's responsible for his audience, which in this case is Siri, and since we know that Siri isn't set up for asking "Which Brian?" and then allowing you to say "None of them" and then asking "Would you like me to set up a meeting titled Brian?" we can't blame the limitation on the product no more than I can blame my car for not being a Leer jet.
    I don't have "wife" in my contacts, yet making the same request with a different assistant give me a calendar appointing that says "Meeting with Wife". Doing the same with "Brian" and 'Police Chief" also works, and neither of those are there either. But yes, there are certainly requests/comments/posts that initially are far from clear and additional input is needed. Still making a calendar entry for "meeting with Brian" should not need "Brian" to be in your contacts, at least in my opinion.

     Anyway, no need for me to belabor the point, just noting that more natural understanding of user requests will be a good thing when it doesn't require time-wasting multiple attempts or precise phrasing for success. Our smart devices are supposed to make common stuff that we traditionally hand-entered faster instead of more tedious. 

    Meanwhile, I just asked Siri to "set an apppojntment with the police chief tomorrow morning 9am" and it created an event at 9am titled "police chief", so not sure what you're on about there. 
    You'd have to ask the OP who complained about "meeting with Brian" being a problem on Siri.
  • Reply 84 of 86
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,771member
    Hey @Soli ;, the Amazon assistants don't seem to be available in Canada so I can't check this out for myself.

    1. Can it control a single light switch (wall switch) by itself with only an existing WiFi network, or is a hub or some other form of intermediary -- software or hardware -- required?

    2. I'm assuming the Echo can be used as an alarm clock. Does it have a snooze button?

    Thanks!
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 85 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    Hey @Soli ;, the Amazon assistants don't seem to be available in Canada so I can't check this out for myself.

    1. Can it control a single light switch (wall switch) by itself with only an existing WiFi network, or is a hub or some other form of intermediary -- software or hardware -- required?

    2. I'm assuming the Echo can be used as an alarm clock. Does it have a snooze button?

    Thanks!
    1) I don't control any lights with my system but they work with everything except HomeKit, from what I can gather.


    2) It can be used as an alarm, can support up to 100 active alarms, and I have an Echo Dot in my room specifically to be used as an alarm clock without a display lighting my room at night. There is no dedicated snooze button, but there is a physical mute button. If you want to snooze you just say "Alexa snooze" and it will do so.
  • Reply 86 of 86
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,771member
    Soli said:
    Hey @Soli ;, the Amazon assistants don't seem to be available in Canada so I can't check this out for myself.

    1. Can it control a single light switch (wall switch) by itself with only an existing WiFi network, or is a hub or some other form of intermediary -- software or hardware -- required?

    2. I'm assuming the Echo can be used as an alarm clock. Does it have a snooze button?

    Thanks!
    1) I don't control any lights with my system but they work with everything except HomeKit, from what I can gather.


    2) It can be used as an alarm, can support up to 100 active alarms, and I have an Echo Dot in my room specifically to be used as an alarm clock without a display lighting my room at night. There is no dedicated snooze button, but there is a physical mute button. If you want to snooze you just say "Alexa snooze" and it will do so.
    Thanks @Soli!
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