Siri on Apple HomePods being triggered by ad for NBA on TNT

Posted:
in General Discussion
Advertisers are beginning to target the wakeword for Apple's Siri assistant in the same way they've previously gone after Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant users, anecdotes suggest.

Apple HomePod


A current NBA on TNT ad is using the phrase "Don't wanna miss out? Hey Siri show me the NBA schedule," according to multiple people on Reddit, and confirmed by AppleInsider testing. The original poster noted that the ad triggered his HomePod, although it could also theoretically trigger any device with always-on "Hey Siri" support, which includes most iPhones and iPads since 2015's iPhone 6s.

Limited AppleInsider testing has shown the ad to not activate an iPhone or iPad at normal use distance away from a television. The HomePod is likely more sensitive to the command induced by the advertising because of the microphone technology designed to listen to a user from farther away than a portable device.

During Siri setup, iPhones and iPads ask owners to train them on their unique voices to reduce such incidents. It's uncertain if that training data is carried over to a HomePod, but regardless, the speaker is known to respond to non-owners.

A year ago, a similar commercial from Burger King targeted owners of Android phones and Google Home speakers with the phrase "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" While some people may have appreciated the novelty of the ad, others complained about it hijacking their devices. It also appeared that Burger King edited the Whopper's Wikipedia entry to sound like promotional text.

Amazon Alexa has also been targeted in third-party ads, but notably Amazon has made sure that its own ads for Echo speakers emit a sound which prevents Alexa devices from waking up.

Both Amazon and Google devices are regularly triggered by accident, since Alexa and Google Assistant often come up in media like TV shows, YouTube clips, and podcasts. The same problem can affect Siri, and could become more prevalent as Apple ventures deeper into smartspeakers, which often sit near radios and TVs.

The HomePod has sometimes been criticized for not being able to distinguish individual users -- a particular problem given its ability to read out personal information such as text messages. Apple is ramping up Siri development though, and recently even poached Google's head of AI and search, John Giannandrea, to take charge of its own AI and machine learning efforts.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    dmdevdmdev Posts: 29member
    So I can disable other people's Alexas by emitting a specific hidden sound? Hmmm...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    dmdev said:
    So I can disable other people's Alexas by emitting a specific hidden sound? Hmmm...
    It doesn't disable them, per se, it's simply a signal not to wake up while the sound is playing.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    kent909kent909 Posts: 691member
    Why don't they let us pick the name. Hey HomePod or Hey Computer or Hey what ever you want  or Yo Siri. 
    kudu
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Whatever you do, Siri and Alexa listens to what happens at your home. Good luck with private life.
    kudu
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Whatever you do, Siri and Alexa listens to what happens at your home. Good luck with private life.
    Your neighbours are listening too. Better stand in a field next time you want to have a private conversation
  • Reply 7 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,649member
     The original poster noted that the ad triggered his HomePod, although it could also theoretically trigger any device with always-on "Hey Siri" support, which includes most iPhones and iPads since 2015's iPhone 6s.
    Not necessarily true as iPhones and iPads are trained to recognize the user's voice. My wife's devices don't recognize my voice and vice-versa.
    However, the Cookie Monster ad did trigger mine. That was always funny.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    dmdevdmdev Posts: 29member
    dmdev said:
    So I can disable other people's Alexas by emitting a specific hidden sound? Hmmm...
    It doesn't disable them, per se, it's simply a signal not to wake up while the sound is playing.
    Effectively, though. If I'm a competitor to Alexa, I could code my competing devices to emit this sound in Best Buys. Not likely to happen, but technically possible
  • Reply 9 of 19
    I posted this on apples support page yesterday, and was told I should turn off the hey Siri feature. It was another random person not an Apple rep, but I thought that was a pretty dumb response. I haven’t gone back, i was just curious how many people it happened to. 

    Imagine buying a car and after a month going back in and saying “I’m having engine problems” and the response is “have you tried walking?”
    Siri, is the engine that drives HomePod. Without it... ummm I guess we are walking. 
    watto_cobraadm1
  • Reply 10 of 19
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,163member
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.
    I just hope they don’t limit voice recognition to one person. My wife being able to add items to our shared shopping list is a feature for us, not a bug. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    dkhaleydkhaley Posts: 13member
    I just hope they don’t limit voice recognition to one person. My wife being able to add items to our shared shopping list is a feature for us, not a bug. 
    It would be most useful if it could distinguish different authorized voices. Eventually, a command like "list to my favorite playlist" could trigger different actions depending on who spoke it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    jsmythe00 said:
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.

    There's alot of low hanging fruit apple could grab but don't expect apple to jump on it.  And why should we wait.  For 350 i shouldnt have to wait for low hanging fruit

    I understand what you are saying but what new product has ever come out that was absolutely feature complete and never improved upon? There are easier things to improve and harder things to improve. Considering Apple already has devices that can determine individual voices it doens’t seem like a big jump to add it to HomePod.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 783member
    jsmythe00 said:
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.

    There's alot of low hanging fruit apple could grab but don't expect apple to jump on it.  And why should we wait.  For 350 i shouldnt have to wait for low hanging fruit

    I understand what you are saying but what new product has ever come out that was absolutely feature complete and never improved upon?
    First thing that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    linkman said:
    jsmythe00 said:
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.

    There's alot of low hanging fruit apple could grab but don't expect apple to jump on it.  And why should we wait.  For 350 i shouldnt have to wait for low hanging fruit

    I understand what you are saying but what new product has ever come out that was absolutely feature complete and never improved upon?
    First thing that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
    Really? I can think of one major thing that needed improving on... namely fire retardation. 😈
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,712member
    Advertisers can suck it.

    As for devices that only recognize one user's voice, I don't see the utility in this. It's bad enough when the device won't recognize words correctly from one user.

    Also, human beings can tell the difference between a TV/radio and a real human in the room (even through walls), so maybe the thing to do is mimic that recognition instead of locking the device into responding to only one person.

    While I wouldn't characterize speech recognition as pathological technology, it's kind of amusingly annoying how people call it "AI" when it can't do the most basic of things that young children can do (respond to context). The AI buzzword needs to die until there's any actual artificial intelligence. Right now it's all clever algorithms that just aren't clever enough.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 783member
    linkman said:
    jsmythe00 said:
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.

    There's alot of low hanging fruit apple could grab but don't expect apple to jump on it.  And why should we wait.  For 350 i shouldnt have to wait for low hanging fruit

    I understand what you are saying but what new product has ever come out that was absolutely feature complete and never improved upon?
    First thing that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
    Really? I can think of one major thing that needed improving on... namely fire retardation. 😈
    Samsung thought it was so great they discontinued it two months after introduction. It was never improved upon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 128member
    cain2003 said:
    I posted this on apples support page yesterday, and was told I should turn off the hey Siri feature. It was another random person not an Apple rep, but I thought that was a pretty dumb response. I haven’t gone back, i was just curious how many people it happened to. 

    Imagine buying a car and after a month going back in and saying “I’m having engine problems” and the response is “have you tried walking?”
    Siri, is the engine that drives HomePod. Without it... ummm I guess we are walking. 
    Which Apple support page? 
  • Reply 18 of 19
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 128member

    jsmythe00 said:
    The ability to recognize individual voices seems like low hanging fruit that will be addressed soon. Hopefully WWDC will bring a bunch of upgrades to HomePod and Siri.


    There's alot of low hanging fruit apple could grab but don't expect apple to jump on it.  And why should we wait.  For 350 i shouldnt have to wait for low hanging fruit

    You’re kidding, right? For the past 40years we’ve been waiting for the next advance. Each year bringing a small incremental improvement on the last. Sheesh, get in line. 
    watto_cobra
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