Artificial Intelligence Personal Virtual Assistants
Part three in our series Smartphone AI: About a year ago, I was researching Artificial Intelligence Personal Virtual Assistants and was trying out Siri and Google Assistant. In our continuing series on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, we are interested in what Apple, Samsung, and Google are planning to do going forward with (AI) Artificial intelligence in their Smartphones and Apps and how Google ties in with their virtual assistant so we are going to delve into what we can find out.
An interesting side note; the company and people who created Siri and where purchased by Steve Jobs and Apple all left Apple after better opportunities or disagreements within the divisions of Apple and started a new company called Viv.
Viv is also an Artificial Intelligence Personal Virtual Assistants company with an open format for developers that Samsung bought and has incorporated into its Virtual Assistant technology Bixby.
Artificial intelligence permeates your day if you are using Google, Amazon, Netflix, or countless other machine learning program interactions when you search or even just pick a movie. The Algorithm on these programs is analyzing your selection and showing you options based on your selection history.
We were trying the Virtual Assistants out because we have busy lives and have been looking for help in some areas to hand off to a personal or virtual assistant and thought we would see how they work. Our main question is Artificial Intelligence anywhere close to helping us out day-to-day at our job or some critical task on a smartphone?
It did not take long to figure out that we were not quite ready for what we thought Virtual Assistants should be early last year. They were not as smart as we thought they would be at the time and could not answer very many basic questions like “What do you do best” which neither still has an answer for.
Google Assitant and Siri Release Dates
Google’s initial release of Google Assitant was May 18, 2016; which was not that long ago. Siri’s Initial release was October 12, 2011, so Siri must be much better and smarter right?
Turns out Siri has fallen behind Google Assitant in head to head comparison tests. Although Siri works on the Apple iPhone, Siri cannot work on a Google Pixel Smartphone but Google Assitant can work on an iPhone or a Samsung. Interesting!!
Loupventures Annual Digital Assistant IQ Test
On August 15th, 2019 Loupventures does their Annual Digital Assistant IQ Test.
“We recently asked the leading digital assistants, Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa, 800 questions each. Google Assistant was able to correctly answer 93% of them vs. Siri at 83% and Alexa at 80%. Each platform saw improvements across the board vs. one year ago. In July of 2018, Google Assistant correctly answered 86% vs. Siri at 79% and Alexa at 61%.”
Siri, Google Assitant, and Alexa Working Together
We realize everyone is trying to sell you their products. But what we want is, for instance, Siri and Google Assitant to work in synchronicity to get the best of both worlds. Apple is allowing Siri to access Google Assitant through a new Shortcut App that works pretty well. This is unprecedented for Apple to allow something like this today from their “Cloaked in secrecy past”.
I don’t know about you but we shop on Amazon all of the time, Google questions constantly at work or home, and do all of these with our smartphone or desktop. Can’t, we all just get along?
You have to think through your question when it starts with Hey Siri, Google Assitant, then your question.
What does Apples Siri do and where does it work?
Since there are no “specific directions” or “How to use Siri” on Apple’s website it is not easy finding out what all you can do with Siri but we are getting there so we will start with Apple’s Website Apple.com/siri: https://www.apple.com/siri/. According to Apple’s website “Siri does more than ever. Even before you ask.”
Calls and Texts
Siri can make calls or send texts for you just by voice activation.
It also offers proactive suggestions.
Set alarms, timers, reminders, directions, and reviews your calendar.
Siri can do aspects of this without interaction from you personally.
Apple Music and Siri work together which means you can ask Siri to find a new song, put on an album, suggest your favorite playlist, or answer questions about music.
You can control your home or office smart appliances and accessories, check their status, or even do a series of commands at once using only your voice. In the Home app, you can create a scene named “I’m home now” that opens the garage, unlocks the front door, and turns on the house’s lights.
Check information and facts, do calculations, or translate a phrase into another language.
More Powerful Tasks
If you take certain setup steps first Siri can find photos of your kids, locate your parked car, get you a ride, or unearth what you’re looking for from massive numbers of files.
You can add Shortcuts to the apps you use if they are working with Apple
Shortcuts give you an even faster way to access apps. Say you create an itinerary in an app like Kayak that works with Apple, a banner will show up and tap Add to Siri. You can then create a phrase with Siri, such as “Travel plans,” that will pull up your flight and hotel details just like that.
Siri also can:
- Check basic information
- Schedule events and reminders
- Device settings
- Search the Internet
- Engage with iOS-integrated apps
- Handle payments through Apple Pay
You can use Siri on all Apple Devices
iPhone X or later, iPhone 6s or later
iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation), iPad Pro (11-inch), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation), iPad Pro (10.5-inch), iPad Pro (9.7-inch), iPad (6th generation)
AirPods (2nd generation)
All Apple Watch models
All HomePod models
MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later, MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later, iMac Pro
Apple and the Internet of Things IoT
Apple HomeKit – Control your home with Siri
Turn on lights, adjust the thermostat, and control all of the products that you use in your home—even when you’re not there. And you can do it all by asking Siri.
TVs, Speakers, Lights, Switches, Outlets, Thermostats, Windows, Fan, sAir Conditioners, Humidifiers, Air Purifiers, Sensors, Receivers, Security, Locks, Cameras, Doorbells, Garage Doors, and Sprinklers.
- Philips HUE HomeKit Upgrade Bridge (for Current HUE Bridge Users), Wemo Bridge
- Logitech Circle 2 Indoor/Outdoor Weatherproof Wired Security Camera, Arlo Baby 1080p HD Monitoring Camera by NETGEAR
- Lights & Bulbs
- Philips Hue Light Bulbs and Wireless Ambiance Starter Kit
- August Smart Lock Pro + Connect and Yale Assure Lock SL with iM1
- Wemo Mini Smart Plug, iDevices Socket, iHome | control iSP6 SmartPlug, iHome | control iSP8 SmartPlug with Remote Control, Eve Energy Strip – Connected Triple, Eve Energy, Pure Gear PureSwitch Wireless Smart Plug
- FIBARO Flood Sensor (HomeKit Enabled, iHome | control iSS50 5-in-1 Smart, Eve Aqua Smart Water Controller, Eve Degree Connected Weather Station
- Eve Light Switch, Leviton Decora Smart 600W Dimmer, Lutron Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit, Leviton Decora Smart 15 Amp Switch, Leviton Decora Smart 1000W Dimmer, FIBARO Button Multicontroller, Lutron Caséta Wireless In-Wall Light Dimmer with Remote, and the Philips Hue tap Switch.
- iDevices Thermostat, ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
Home App, Siri HomeKit Accessories, and HomePod
Apple HomePod was launched on February 9, 2018, and is Apple’s response to the Amazon Echo, and Google Home. Siri works on Homepod with the need for no other device and can be spoken with and connected to other devices.
HomePod responds to most Siri requests, even when other devices that support ”Hey Siri” are nearby. To use Siri on a specific device, raise to wake that device or press the button to use Siri, then make your request.
Apple HomePod and Siri Vs. Amazon Echo and Alexa Vs. Google Home and Google Assistant
Apple HomePod and Siri Vs. Amazon Echo and Alexa Vs. Google Home and Google Assistant is information for another article but HomePod does many of the things the others do and some not and vice versa but HomePod includes impressive sound and also supports Siri commands.
The whole point of these devices is that you can interact with them with your voice and if you set up a HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad as a home hub, you can use Siri to control your home from just about anywhere. To control your HomeKit accessories remotely with Siri, you need to set up a home hub
Siri utilizes your voice for the on/off switch and knows which HomeKit accessories are set up in the Home app as well as their status. Siri identifies your accessories by their names, locations, and other details that you’ve added to them in the Home app.
Siri can adjust or turn your HomeKit accessories on or off from lights to appliances or an accessory like a thermostat. If you organize your accessories by room or zone, you can control areas of your house with a single command.
HomePod to Control the Room it’s in
If you have a HomePod, you can control all of the HomeKit accessories in the room that it’s in with a single command. You can have multiple Home Pods or set up different devices as Home Hubs.
Set up your HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad as a Home Hub
With a home hub, you can control your HomeKit accessories remotely from your iPhone, grant access to the people you trust, and automate your accessories to do what you want, when you want.
Do you use Siri?
According to Apple, there are over 500 Million users of Siri. When I ask friends, family, and people I have worked with if they use Siri on their iPhone for phone numbers, addresses, and locations, they all have said no except one.
According to the company named Creative Strategies, Inc., way back in 2016 says that
“Only 2% of iPhone owners have never used Siri.”
“The majority of active users within their distinct ecosystems admit using these features only rarely or sometimes: 70% for Siri”
“Even more interesting is to look at the people who do use voice assistants and see where they use them. 39% of these consumers use voice assistants in the home, 51% in the car, 1.3% at work and 6% in public. Why is this interesting?”
“Interestingly, iPhone owners’ usage in the car is even higher than average at 62%”
“20% of consumers who said they never used a voice assistant stated they had not done so because they feel uncomfortable talking to their technology, especially in public.”
Siri iPhone Picture Recognition and Artificial Intelligence Problem
As we are going through the process of testing how Siri and the iPhones picture recognition Artificial Intelligence works we ran into trouble right away.
So we had to contact Apple Customer Support Chat who is great and courteous by the way. We stated our problem:
“I am trying to identify photos with Siri and there are no people thumbnails directly below my photos I am trying to tag in photos in the People Album.
We had already been through the “About People in Photos on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch” tutorial before we contacted them but it is helpful.
So after a while and some tests they sent us up the chain of command to a Senior Advisor Team Member and finally to “We will need to get our Creative Media department involved for this issue”.
At the end of the process and the conclusion we came to after speaking with someone from the Creative Media Department was our final answer. The gentleman told me that we had reached the limits of the Siri iPhone platform. That Siri will not be able to identify those pictures of the same person who is just now a little older because Siri can not recognize them.
There is also no way to identify the pictures in the iPhone because the program will not let you manually name a picture or attach the picture to a contact unless you use third-party software.
Now I cannot tell you how short-sited this seems to me by Apple for a company that does Billions in business each year and does not let you name a simple picture; but what do I know? I mean who is running that department?
Anyway, the nice man from the Creative Media Department was very kind and helpful. I said you know it is so interesting because I am writing an article about Artificial Intelligence and Siri and its capabilities.
I said is there going to be any updates during the September 10, Apple annual iPhone event in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California?
He said yes and no but I may be surprised by some programming changes and them, as Apple Employees are looking forward to improvements from their programmers in the Artificial Intelligence realm of Apple.
What is Siri Ultimately For?
Artificial Intelligence Virtual Assitant Technology is wonderful and amazing and we are very excited about this new untapped tool. We are hoping for more and more and utilities that will help us day to day in the real world productivity arena, business sector, or things that just make life simpler.
It is incredible to just ask, as you are driving or walking down the street opposed to having to physically pick up your Smartphone, open it, and look at it especially when you are driving.
These Personal Assistants will also call someone or something when you are looking for a store or a doctor’s office if it can find it or if it is in your contact list. They all can read and write a text or an email in different ways.
If you are a mother with a baby and a busy life finding out information on the fly just by asking your Artificial Intelligence Personal Virtual Assistant could be literally a lifesaver.
Going through the process of setting up these apps and giving all information and control of your life away seems to be the great surrender and privacy trade-off. “They” are always listening, right? Can’t wait to see what’s next!!
What can Google Assitant do?
This is the question for our Next Article!!