Written By: Cassandra Bondie

Do you ever get tired of talking to a virtual assistant that doesn’t really understand you? Amazon’s Alexa, Windows’ Cortana, and Apple’s Siri are all examples of voice recognition and virtual assistants that were designed to make our lives easier. All three are marketed as robust, developmental tools that help us multitask and keep track of our day-to-day lives.

Unfortunately, technology hasn’t completely caught up with the concept, leaving consumers grasping at straws. For example, the Amazon Echo (also known as Alexa) only recognizes a set number of phrases and applications. Customers complain that Cortana hinders activity more than it helps. And Apple users have often noted that Siri fails to understand a high percentage of spoken requests.

In a recent keynote address at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple announced that Siri will use a new visual interface in the iOS 11 release. Siri will be able to handle follow-up questions and language translation. The program will also get a completely new voice, generated by “machine learning algorithms.” To top it off, users will be able to type to Siri – in addition to speaking.

Experts at The Verge, however, believe these “impressive” updates fail to fix the underlying problem.

“Voice recognition has been the biggest drag on Siri since the assistant’s introduction in 2011,” one article reads. “Too often, Siri whiffs when it tries to interpret your commands. And even when it gets that part right, there’s a good chance Siri only gets you halfway to an answer before it crashes headlong into its own limitations. If that’s still going to be the case, more results won’t be enough to make it useful. Neither will a smoother voice.”

The article continues by claiming that both Alexa and Google’s Assistant handle advanced requests better than Siri, even with their limited technology. This is surprising, since Siri was introduced in 2011 and Alexa is a relatively new release.

The reason for Siri’s lack of understanding? Apple won’t focus on furthering artificial intelligence technology. Many of the best minds in the industry have been off-put by Apple’s intense veil of secrecy. They worry credit won’t be given for major discoveries or creations.

Not once during Apple’s keynote address was the biggest Siri flaw mentioned. Instead, Apple showed how it might avoid confronting problems by reframing Siri altogether.

“In August of last year,” the article reads, “Apple told the world that Siri was finally ready to strut its stuff. Two months later, though, die-hard users were still finding the experience disappointing. These next few months leading up to (and beyond) the next iPhone release feel like another one of those moments of truth. We’ll either have more reasons to be frustrated by Siri, or things will finally turn around.”

Based on Apple’s ongoing struggle to make Siri function as a completely autonomous virtual assistant, it’s doubtful that a new iPhone release will make concerns disappear.
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