Growth of Apple's Siri hampered by privacy & departure of key staff - report

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 72
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,239member
    sockrolid said:
    ireland said:
    Apple's privacy policy is making hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal.
    Good because privacy is the number 1 important issue of our times. Or at the very least one of the top five issues going. I wouldn't necessarily want to, but I could get by without a digital assistant. I could even get by, if I had to, without a phone, period. But I couldn't relax and feel myself without privacy. Once you have no privacy, you have no identity IMO. It is also certainly a key reason I choose Apple products over competitors. In terms of voice assistants in technology, early days doesn't even begin to get to the heart of where we are at this point. And tbh, even though Path Inc's social network didn't take off, long term I see the potential for a competitor to Facebook coming along and succeeding with privacy being its key differentiator. It may not happen next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at some point. If Duck Duck had a search engine anywhere near as good as Google's I'd so never use Google again.

    Agree completely.  I actively avoid anything Google.  Not necessarily because of "privacy" per se.
    It's because Google makes 97+% of their revenue by selling advertisements.
    And the more info they can dig out of you, the more focused their ads can be.

    And guess what.  
    I absolutely f*****g hate ads.
    Including Apple ads? 
  • Reply 22 of 72
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    gatorguy said:
    sockrolid said:
    ireland said:
    Apple's privacy policy is making hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal.
    Good because privacy is the number 1 important issue of our times. Or at the very least one of the top five issues going. I wouldn't necessarily want to, but I could get by without a digital assistant. I could even get by, if I had to, without a phone, period. But I couldn't relax and feel myself without privacy. Once you have no privacy, you have no identity IMO. It is also certainly a key reason I choose Apple products over competitors. In terms of voice assistants in technology, early days doesn't even begin to get to the heart of where we are at this point. And tbh, even though Path Inc's social network didn't take off, long term I see the potential for a competitor to Facebook coming along and succeeding with privacy being its key differentiator. It may not happen next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at some point. If Duck Duck had a search engine anywhere near as good as Google's I'd so never use Google again.

    Agree completely.  I actively avoid anything Google.  Not necessarily because of "privacy" per se.
    It's because Google makes 97+% of their revenue by selling advertisements.
    And the more info they can dig out of you, the more focused their ads can be.

    And guess what.  
    I absolutely f*****g hate ads.
    Including Apple ads? 
    Yup.  
    What about you?
    bestkeptsecretBlunt
  • Reply 23 of 72
    robjnrobjn Posts: 246member
    Disgruntled former employees that don't understand the prime importance of privacy.
    Glad they're not still at Apple!

    All these assistants need to improve. Siri almost always understands my voice (British accent) but often doesn't understand my wife (california Bay Area accent). If think she runs into trouble because rather than speaking naturally she slows her speech with long pauses between the words in the hope the Siri will understand her better. So people's experiences are inconsistent. Siri seems great at answering questions to do with sports that Apple executives are big fans of. But if you ask it something outside of their world, Siri might struggle.

    When asked a question like "what diameter hole do I need to drill to tap a 6-32 thread?" - Siri reads 6-32 as "632" and gives web results from which you can navigate to a chart via the second result in the list, by which time you might as well have either opened Safari and Googled for a chart or walked over to see the chart you have posted on the wall.

    Siri should be able to come back with a clarifying question "what material are you going to drill?" User "Brass" Siri "then you need a point, one, zero, six, five diameter drill bit, that's drill size number thirty-six"

    It'll get there eventually.
  • Reply 24 of 72
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,239member
    sockrolid said:
    gatorguy said:
    sockrolid said:
    ireland said:
    Apple's privacy policy is making hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal.
    Good because privacy is the number 1 important issue of our times. Or at the very least one of the top five issues going. I wouldn't necessarily want to, but I could get by without a digital assistant. I could even get by, if I had to, without a phone, period. But I couldn't relax and feel myself without privacy. Once you have no privacy, you have no identity IMO. It is also certainly a key reason I choose Apple products over competitors. In terms of voice assistants in technology, early days doesn't even begin to get to the heart of where we are at this point. And tbh, even though Path Inc's social network didn't take off, long term I see the potential for a competitor to Facebook coming along and succeeding with privacy being its key differentiator. It may not happen next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at some point. If Duck Duck had a search engine anywhere near as good as Google's I'd so never use Google again.

    Agree completely.  I actively avoid anything Google.  Not necessarily because of "privacy" per se.
    It's because Google makes 97+% of their revenue by selling advertisements.
    And the more info they can dig out of you, the more focused their ads can be.

    And guess what.  
    I absolutely f*****g hate ads.
    Including Apple ads? 
    Yup.  
    What about you?
    I block ads with Ghostery if that tells you anything. 
  • Reply 25 of 72
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,157member
    mobius said:
    "People at Apple's anxiety level went up a notch," one ex-Siri team member said.
    No wonder Siri is failing; the Siri team can't even make grammatical sense themselves!
    Oh! So you're the person that speaks correctly each and every time when speaking to others. You never, ever make a mistake in the grammatical sense. Awesome! Nice to finally meet someone that does. 
  • Reply 26 of 72
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member

    Apple's privacy policy is making it hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant both take advantage of user data stored in the cloud, improving their adaptiveness.

    It's frustration with this gap -- including slow support for third-party apps -- that has reportedly led to people leaving the Siri team, some of them for competitors.
    This should be music to user’s ears. Apple really does care about privacy, enough to eschew competition for user data. People seem to not realize that Google and Amazon are NOT tech companies. They are companies that USE tech to support their business models. Google is pretty much a traditional advertising company while Amazon is an online retailer. 
    mattinozpscooter63Rayz2016mike1palomine
  • Reply 27 of 72
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,157member
    slurpy said:
    Sorry, I don't believe or trust a word from "ex-employees", especially when they're unnamed. Also, even if any of this was true, if they had a shred of class they wouldn't shit talk their former employer or divulge info. This kind of thing is usually motivated by resentment. 
    So, no one that personally knows you should trust you with anything thing you might say about a former employer? Or that most people in this field want to progress the advancements and it seems Apple is holding everyone back? So they become frustrated and go somewhere where they gave spread their knowledge. 

    Not saying Apple is in the wrong because privacy is important. 
  • Reply 28 of 72
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,149member


    Apple's privacy policy is making it hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant both take advantage of user data stored in the cloud, improving their adaptiveness.

    Did he quit or was he sacked?
    What sort of engineer are they if this constraint isn't an inspiring challange. It would be like a structural engineer quitting because gravity was getting in the way.
    Find a way to make it work if it takes multi-key encyprtion, more modern file system,  better data tagging by apps and/or a thousand other things.
    hmurchisonkruegdude
  • Reply 29 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    cali said:
    ireland said:
    Apple's privacy policy is making hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal.
    Good because privacy is the number 1 important issue of our times. Or at the very least one of the top five issues going. I wouldn't necessarily want to, but I could get by without a digital assistant. I could even get by, if I had to, without a phone, period. But I couldn't relax and feel myself without privacy. Once you have no privacy, you have no identity IMO. It is also certainly a key reason I choose Apple products over competitors. In terms of voice assistants in technology, early days doesn't even begin to get to the heart of where we are at this point. And tbh, even though Path Inc's social network didn't take off, long term I see the potential for a competitor to Facebook coming along and succeeding with privacy being its key differentiator. It may not happen next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at some point. If Duck Duck had a search engine anywhere near as good as Google's I'd so never use Google again.
    The problem is, the public doesn't know this.
    Politicians are now using the word 'socialism' without fear of being pitchforked. Things change over time. Digital privacy becomes hugely important over the next decade. Once people learn it they can't unlearn it.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 30 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member

    slurpy said:
    Sorry, I don't believe or trust a word from "ex-employees", especially when they're unnamed. Also, even if any of this was true, if they had a shred of class they wouldn't shit talk their former employer or divulge info. This kind of thing is usually motivated by resentment. 

    This. And the article also ignores people Apple has recently hired. Like Russ Salakhutdinov from Carnegie Mellon (who made an interesting comment inviting other AI researchers to join his team, with a link to Apple job postings). Apple also recently acquired Perceptio, Turi and Tuplejump, and apparently have significantly expanded the offices in Seattle where Turi is based.

    Clearly Apple is up to something, and we won't know what it is until they announce it.
    I think they are bolstering Siri and we see the results of these acquisitions over time with yearly demos from Apple. It's not something they will announce with a splash. There's no end in sight for the evolution of these digital assistants. Siri will just keep improving.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 31 of 72
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member

    gerard said:
    I don't understand the privacy issue concern. Just teach Siri how to find answers to questions people ask; even if Siri has to look it up on the internet before it offers an answer (Obviously nothing dealing with life and death to avoid liability). Just as an example: what's wrong with hey Siri what is snow boarding? Snow boarding is a winter based sport practiced on mountains; for more detailed info you check out these websites. I hate when I do use Siri and it just lists websites; I can search the web myself if I wanted to go that route. 
    You're greatly oversimplifying what it takes to solve the problem of answering an infinite variety of queries.
    edited June 2017 mike1
  • Reply 32 of 72
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 922member
    Called Apple and found out that HomePod will play all of the music in our iTunes library, and just not music associated with an Apple Music subscription.
  • Reply 33 of 72
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,146moderator
    Apple is rarely first, but once it joins a market, it goes all in and is often the best.  I'm confidence this will be the case with machine learning voice assistants.  It may simply take Apple longer given its self-imposed constraint regarding privacy.  
    mike1
  • Reply 34 of 72
    mike54mike54 Posts: 349member
    I think privacy as a way to improve Siri could be done with alternative methods, hence this is only smaller part of the reason.
    Also Google has an incentive, in that it can monetise its assistant directly, Apple not so much directly. 

    The main reason, I think, is the lack of resources Apple devotes to it. Apple thinks it can get away with it cheaply, but it can't. Voice recognition take a lot of ongoing work. Like Maps, its a project with no end in sight, otherwise you'll get left behind very quickly. Siri needs full time ongoing effort and resources on: enough full time employees (not just the bare minimum with >10hr work days) with certainly of employment and  ongoing training and career path (buying employees is a short term fix), an increasing budget (not a reduction as usually the case), increasing R&D, having a roadmap and mindset of constant improvement.

    Employees are a company's number 1 customer. This is overlooked. Having more than enough staff working on Siri, with staff having time to plan and experiment is important. Otherwise employees will just leave, which is happening. Having staff that stay over many years decades is must for continuity and vital for company's longetivity.
  • Reply 35 of 72
    steviet02steviet02 Posts: 594member
    ireland said:
    Apple's privacy policy is making hard to evolve and personalize Siri, the ex-Apple sources told the Wall Street Journal.
    Good because privacy is the number 1 important issue of our times. Or at the very least one of the top five issues going. I wouldn't necessarily want to, but I could get by without a digital assistant. I could even get by, if I had to, without a phone, period. But I couldn't relax and feel myself without privacy. Once you have no privacy, you have no identity IMO. It is also certainly a key reason I choose Apple products over competitors. In terms of voice assistants in technology, early days doesn't even begin to get to the heart of where we are at this point. And tbh, even though Path Inc's social network didn't take off, long term I see the potential for a competitor to Facebook coming along and succeeding with privacy being its key differentiator. It may not happen next year, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at some point. If Duck Duck had a search engine anywhere near as good as Google's I'd so never use Google again.
    I'm glad you feel yourself in private, but if you really think you are private you are fooling yourself.  Apple has a lot of our information stored in the cloud too, just take a look at the level of cooperation they are giving the UK and other law enforcement.  
  • Reply 36 of 72
    steviet02steviet02 Posts: 594member
    I wish they would either figure out a way to compromise or find a better way to anonymously gather data to allow these devices to be ,ore user friendly.  The one thing that doesn't get spoken about enough in these types of articles is the speech recognition. Privacy is irrelevant when it comes to recognition and apple is failing at it right now. 
  • Reply 37 of 72
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,105member
    Siri is disabled on my IPad.  The only time I'd use it would be for navigation in my car.
  • Reply 38 of 72
    koopkoop Posts: 337member
    Siri's largest issue is Bing. Every A.I. Assistant not named Google uses Bing. Search is the life blood of A.I. Especially A.I. that will become more conversational and informative. This is such a fast moving piece of technology that is changing the world, and will dramatically alter our lives over the next 30 to 40 years. 

    In 2017, the good news for Apple is that the most sophisticated assistant (Google Assistant) is still not very useful in most contexts. The best assistants are the ones that can set reminders, timers, order cat food, play music and convert measurements. Siri is good enough, Amazon Echo is pretty good at these things, and Google Home can do some of them as well. The extra cirraculars that Google Home can do is just not at a point where it's going to alter the state of the marketplace. 

    Apple's issue isn't 2017 it's 2025, it's 2030 and beyond. These are going to get exponentially smarter, and Google has such a massive amount of data to plug these assistants into. These companies need to create a back end search engine to compete with Google. It doesn't need to be public, but time to send out the little bots to harvest web data.
  • Reply 39 of 72
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Apple’s privacy policy is making it hard to evolve and personalize Siri…
    Good. Please let this always be the case.
    mknelson said:
    I just hope the HomePod has good non-voice controls (app on iOS device)…
    Why do I get a sinking feeling that it won’t have non-voice controls at all (at launch)…
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 40 of 72
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    Doodpants said:
    Eh, voice-activated assistants are of no interest to me, until I can get a satisfactory result from the following query: "Hey (Siri/Google/Alexa), bring me my slippers."
    I can build that but how much are you willing to pay?
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