• Slack CEO Calls Apple's Siri "Nearly Useless" As He Discussed Virtual Assistant Tech



    In a recent interview, Slack Technologies founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield recently revealed plans to invest in artificial intelligence with an eye on virtual assistant tech for work groups. While revealing his plans, he ended up calling Apple’s solution “nearly useless.” The Slackbot “robot” is said to incorporate natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to help deal with several tedious work tasks. He claims the improvements will result in a system more similar to the advanced AI portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in the movie “Her” as opposed to competing products created by Apple and Google.

    Butterfield said the following regarding the matter:

    Apple spent billions of dollars on Siri and worked on it for a very long time with hundreds of engineers and a huge dataset of voices - and it's f-ing idiotic. Siri is nearly useless.
    Slack is looking to partner with firms focusing on AI technology instead of sinking time and money into product R&D. When it comes to this, the company recently hired its first data scientist and plans to invest in the artificial intelligence space. With a next-generation Slackbot, the company is looking to create a virtual assistant capable of tapping into a customer’s institutional infrastructure while connecting simultaneously with everyone on a team to help automate certain tasks like scheduling meetings. The goal is to help clear up time that it takes to perform repetitive and mundane tasks, something Butterfield believes could boost productivity by roughly 20% to 30%.

    Current versions of the programmable query/response system are largely rooted in Slack’s direct messaging application but the bot surfaces searches and other productivity minded applications. For example, future iterations might be able to scan a Slack team's message’s, recognize when an employee is having trouble with a particular task and schedule an appointment with higher ups to help keep the project on task.

    For those of you who didn’t know, Slack is just one of many tech companies that is conducting research into natural language processing and machine learning. Apple’s Siri is one of the best known virtual assistants on the market but competing services from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are finding success with their respective platforms. The social media giant, Facebook, also appears to be researching its own personal assistant called MoneyPenny, a natural language and machine learning initiative that studies human interactions across the social network’s large user base.

    We’ll have to see how Slack competes in the market and if the smack-talk is justified.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Slack CEO Calls Apple's Siri "Nearly Useless" As He Discussed Virtual Assistant Tech started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. pjpauni's Avatar
      pjpauni -
      To a degree, I'm gonna have to agree with Mr. Slack. With all the latest tech has to offer, you'd think that creating a personal virtual assistant that is powerful enough to deliver a natural human voice while executing comprehensive demands on the fly would be possible by now. If anyone can pull it off, it would be Apple. They have all the resources at their disposal to make it happen. If anyone else is able to beat Apple to it, I applaud them. In a world of tech and innovation, here and there Apple has been known to pick up where others have left off and made it look better. Which is not a bad thing and in some ways being clever.
    1. twigwonderkid's Avatar
      twigwonderkid -
      Who ?
      Oh that big tech company that has some monitoring software .
      My as well take advice from the tech guy down the pub on a Friday night, as he's known more over the world , no matter what city you live in
    1. Al226's Avatar
      Al226 -
      Love my jailbroken iPhone, but I agree on Siri being nearly useless
    1. Christophxr's Avatar
      Christophxr -
      I use Siri at least 5 times a day. Remind me to blah blah blah when I get home, when I get to work, when I wake up. How do I get to blah blah blah on my watch while I'm driving. Text blah blah blah blah blah blah. FaceTime Audio my girlfriend. Launch blah blah blah (Apple Watch again). Make a note blah blah blah blah blah. Add blah blah blah to my shopping list.

      The list goes on.

      If the next iPhone had double the RAM, double the CPU and double the space but no Siri, I would NOT get it by any means.

      Slack, though? I don't even know what Slack is. Is he trying to distract us from the fact that Slack is useless? :/
    1. Dgow452's Avatar
      Dgow452 -
      I agree Siri sucks I'm in 8.4 and omfg I keep having to repeat myself at least three times then I give up It easier to just open music and play than to ask Siri to play music.

      Play music shuffled
      I can't u need to be listening to music .....
      Play music
      Playing all songs shuffled like wtf
      And that's if it doesn't stop listening untill u r done talking
      It should have gotten better not worse by now dyt
    1. Carvensno's Avatar
      Carvensno -
      I have never had a issue with Siri and has come through with my requests. But have to agree Siri could be better on searching requests instead of being limited to certain sports request or food request working with Yelp or Open Table.
    1. Silverado1987's Avatar
      Silverado1987 -
      I don't even use Siri. I just don't need to be reminded. I have my calendars for that and I know where I'm going and I just don't wanna talk to my phone out loud
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