Microsoft Boss Says All Voice Assistants Are Stupid
Years ago, voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana were touted as the “next big thing.” In times of chatbots with artificial intelligence, however, they now seem “dumb as a rock,” as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella puts it.
Language assistants control the smart home on demand, provide information about appointments and the weather and play music. But at least since the introduction of smart chatbots (e.g. ChatGPT) and the beginning of the hype that has developed around them, they seem to belong to the old iron with their sometimes complicated commands. In an interview with the Financial Times (Paywall), Satya Nadella also admits to mistakes.
The Microsoft CEO’s verdict after he still highly praised language assistants in 2016: “They are all stupid. Whether Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, they all just don’t work. We had a product that was the new front end for what should be a lot of information, but it didn’t work.”
The future lies with chatbots
Currently, Microsoft is in a comfortable position and can afford to admit past mistakes with Cortana. The Redmond-based company is one of the first major IT companies to integrate AI chatbots into their services for the average consumer. ChatGPT can now be used within the Bing search engine, which could give the Google competitor new impetus.
It remains to be seen how chatbots and language assistants can be combined in the future, or whether Siri or Alexa. will be sidelined. Although many households have HomePods, Echo speakers, and the like, users do not always seem to be aware of the basic range of functions. “Nobody knows what they can and can’t do. They don’t know what they can and can’t say. The ways they were able to do it were just too cumbersome,” says Adam Cheyer, co-inventor of Siri.
A ray of hope Cheyers: “Chatbot technology has the potential to put language assistants back on the path to their original sci-fi goal.”
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