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Has Apple given up on Siri ?

June 12th 2018

Has Apple given up on Siri ?

Now that 2018 WWDC is behind us, I have been waiting for Apple aficionados to write about something specific but to my surprise I did not really find any mention of it, apart maybe from WSJ's Joanna Stern. To me, it seems that Apple is following Microsoft when it comes to search and AI.

When Microsoft rebranded Live search with Bing in May 2012, they surely had high hopes. But of course, we all know how it turned out: you simply cannot stop someone from changing their search habits, however good or powerful your search engine might be. Yet, the Redmond-based company had a joker: if they cannot win a frontal fight against Google, they can try to increase Bing's monthly queries by being a bit specific.

Microsoft started promoting Bing as a "decision search engine". And then, they rebranded into "an action search engine". The marketing team came up with the slogan : "Bing is for doing".

Right from a simple query, the user was supposed to be able to check for a flight or even book a journey from Expedia or a rental car. Pure knowledge search was not really part of the game. In some way, they had left it to Google. What Bing was supposed to do was to go deeper in the database to present the user with some actions.

Well, that's exactly where Siri is heading to right now. On stage, Apple did not make any mention of a greater Siri knowledge. Or simply, of a smarter Siri. The AI software is now supposed to be working hand in hand with Workfkow, an application Apple bought last year and which basically emulates Automator on iOS. And quite frankly this is exciting. The demo on stage was pretty good and I'm sure people will make many day-life scenarios to automate a few things.

I'm sure this approach could potentially lead to an increase of vocal queries made to Siri. But in fine, those those scenarios don't have anything requiring deep AI. They are created by humans, for humans. They're just triggered by a voice commands.

So has Apple kind of given up on Siri as a pure AI platform?