Print 44 comment(s) - last by rudy.. on Oct 24 at 1:32 AM

"You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone" -- Andy Rubin, Google

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday showed love for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and its "humble personal assistant" Siri at the AsiaD conference, stating, "Apple is a good competitor, but a different one.  Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically…"

But the next day his underling, Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees, was far less charitable.  He commented that Siri isn't "super useful" and argued that the similar voice assistant functionality found on Windows Phone 7 Mango is more useful.  Despite the fact that Siri uses the internet and plugs in to services like Wolfram Alpha (and, ironically Bing), he chastises that it's not a truly connected solution.  He says that Windows Phone's Bing-driven implementation gives you "the full power of the internet, rather than a certain subset."

Andy Lees interview
Windows Phone Chief Andy Lees gets queried by Ina Fried. [Source: AllThingsD]

He also said that Microsoft generally doesn't agree with Apple's premise of generally barking commands into your phone in public, though Microsoft does support such interaction targeted at specific environments, such as in the privacy of your car.

Similar criticisms were sounded by Android chief, Google, Inc. (GOOG) SVP Andy Rubin.  He comments, "I don't believe that your phone should be an assistant.  Our phone is a tool for communicating. You shouldn’t be communicating with the phone; you should be communicating with somebody on the other side of the phone."

Andy Rubin
Google SVP and Android chief Andy Rubin [Source: AllThingsD]

When it comes to talking to someone on the phone, he argues that's perfectly normal, stating, "To some degree it is natural for you to talk to your phone."

But when it comes to talking to a sassy AI agent he expresses skepticism that it will be a healthy or popular exercise.  He states, "We’ll see how pervasive it gets."

And he says that the tech is nothing new.  He pointed out that Android co-founder Rich Miner worked to bake a similar cellphone speech assistant into his company's OS, but that Google opted to stick with just commands, not a more talkative assistant.

He did offer some faint praise for Apple's app, admitting that it is polished, at the very least.  He remarks, "This isn’t a new notion.  In projecting the future, I think Apple did a good job of figuring out when the technology was ready to be consumer-grade."

Sources: Engadget, AllThingsD

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By Boze on 10/20/2011 1:10:00 PM , Rating: 5
Have you guys never seen Iron Man? Never played Halo?

I can't wait for the day when I have a JARVIS or a Cortana on my telephone. I'm dying for the day when I can name my AI and talk to her and have her do things for me.

In fact, I expect the conversations to go something like this:

Eliza: Mr. Bozeman, your anniversary is in two weeks. This is the reminder you requested.
Me: Thank you Eliza. My friend Amanda's birthday is coming up, you have that logged right?
Eliza: Yes, I do. I'll remind you a few weeks in advance. Don't forget you and your sister are going to the symphony next month.
Me: I won't, but thanks for reminding me Eliza. By the way, send a text to Jenny in my lab that I when I leave for lunch today, I won't be back until 3 p.m.; I want her to keep a close eye on the students.

And then Eliza adds in reminders for those events that both she AND I discussed in Outlook on my home PC, my netbook, my phone, and my Kindle Fire (assuming it actually gets some kind of productivity suite). She then sends a text message to my lab assistant Jenny.

That's how the future should work. And Apple's Siri is a very rudimentary form of it. Voice commands on my Galaxy S II are also a nice start, but its a long way from what I want: to be able to speak naturally to my phone and computer as if they were a person, and have them respond and act accordingly.

Like most future technology, it only *seems* outlandish because we're so far away from it.

By EricMartello on 10/20/2011 1:39:12 PM , Rating: 4
to be able to speak naturally to my phone and computer as if they were a person, and have them respond and act accordingly.

LOL Despite having the latest and greatest phone, this guy obviously has nobody to talk he wants his phone to talk to him in the future.

In reality your AI phone will probably get tired of listening to you and brick itself.

By wickernyc on 10/20/2011 3:34:34 PM , Rating: 4
This will lead our futre generation to be illiterate. No need to read or write anymore. Technology will do this for us.

By Boze on 10/21/2011 2:35:59 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, when did DailyTech become filled with so many idiots?

Reading some of these replies, its almost laughable and I wonder if I'm actually on a website.

I want to have a virtual assistant that can span across all my devices. I imagine there's a lot of small business owners, and even mid-sized business owners, not to mention thousands upon thousands of professionals who'd love to have the same thing.

In none of my examples did I list anything that was any different than talking to your secretary.

You must be either really old, or very young and naive.

By EricMartello on 10/21/2011 5:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
Look at this guy...if he's not talking to his phone he's talking to this website. /pat

By sigmatau on 10/21/2011 6:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
Things that look like a homeless, mentily ill person walking down the street yelling at an imaginary person:

1. Bluetooth
2. Siri

By p05esto on 10/22/2011 9:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
In reality your AI phone will probably get tired of listening to you and brick itself.

That was funny sir, my eyes are watering from laughter. Thanks, needed that!!

By thisisaname on 10/20/2011 4:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
But you'll be very disappointed when you try to discuss philosophy with it, and it just replies "I don't know", or "I don't understand". I could imagine you being very frustrated when you scream at your phone "Don't you LOVE me????" only to get silence, or, "I don't understand".
There will never be a substitute for human interaction and/or love.

By Boze on 10/21/2011 2:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
Same response to you as to Eric above.

I shouldn't be surprised by your reply, you obviously have never worked in an office environment, or had a secretary; you'd realize for a lot of "executive assistants" that fairly everyday chatter right there.

Just switch out events and names and add some meeting reminders and that's about it.

How you managed to go from basic office chatter to discussions on philosophy, human interaction, and love is beyond me.

By EricMartello on 10/21/2011 5:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
How you managed to go from basic office chatter to discussions on philosophy, human interaction, and love is beyond me.

Are you mad? Maybe you should have Eliza rough us up a little...

By sigmatau on 10/21/2011 6:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what office you work at. Most people working in offices don't have administrative assistants. Probably 99% don't.

Do you smoke in your office?

By pugster on 10/21/2011 10:43:36 AM , Rating: 2
That's funny. Gees, if I have 20 appointments next month, would I like my 'Eliza' to talk to remind me of it every hour.

Siri's is nothing a lazy man's way of asking questions. Instead of asking "what is the weather for tomorrow?," siri's lazy man's way "I wonder if I need a jacket tomorrow?."

As much as people want to replace their personal assistants with Siri's, it just can't yet. It does not know what you want, what you think is important, or how is it going to remind you.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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