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Wolfram Alpha Explains How Siri "Recommended" The Lumia By Mistake (searchengineland.com)
10 points by tortilla 1741 days ago | hide | past | web | 2 comments | favorite

It's shit like this, Apple.

Sure, the cutesy "tee hee, aren't I clever" routine was cute when Siri first came along, but now that we're past that and moving into the real world of real use, Apple's self-serving editorialism undermines the whole thing.

We're talking about a platform that is widely held to represent the future of HCI. While there's no doubt that Siri is a technical marvel, we're still a long, long way off from a better world in terms of actual content. If I ask Siri what the best phone is on the market, I expect Siri to tell me the 'truth', not some banal "You're kidding right?" straight out of marketing. The specifics of how Alpha messed up their original algorithm aside, Apple's glossing over of these inconvenient truths doesn't bode well for the impartiality of Siri as a knowledge conduit.

Imagine if Safari automatically re-wrote web content that was critical of Apple, or if it simply put a giant black 'Redacted' overlay on top. There would be riots in the street (or on Twitter). I don't see Siri's editorial stance as any different; you're either a conduit for information or you're a spin doctor. You can't be both.

This is one of the reasons why I think the prognostication about Siri taking over the world is silly. Voice UIs have to chop down the amount of information by necessity. In cases where there are close finishes for the ranked results, or the heuristic for selecting the top result is faulty (as in this case), or if divining the truth from the raw data requires a human's interpretation, it comes up short.

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