Voice assistants are all great at specific tasks, but there’s a hard limit to what they can and cannot understand. At times this makes them feel like beta software.

Nick Heer, writing for Pixel Envy:

There’s something about all of this software that feels like it’s still a prototype. A proof of concept, and little more. It’s not just Siri — it’s everything. And, while today’s virtual assistants are better at parsing natural language commands, they’re still more verbose and far more particular than how we actually speak to other people.

This lines up with my experience. To me using voice assistants feels kind of like using the command prompt, or an old text adventure game: you need to memorize which specific commands or word combinations will actually trigger something.

My co-workers, I should point out, all disagree with me about this, and point out that devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home sell like crazy because they’re useful right now. It’s a good point, but I think the products that exist right now are primitive compared with what’s coming. I’ll get excited when I no longer have to actively think about which words will trigger which actions.

Justin Pot Justin Pot
Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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