April 1, 2023

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How Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant lost the AI ​​’race’

On a rainy Tuesday in San Francisco, a full 12 years ago, Apple executives took the stage to a packed auditorium to unveil the fifth generation iPhone.

This smartphone, although outwardly it looks identical to the previous generation, has a new innovative feature: Siria virtual assistant.

Scott Vostal, Apple’s chief software officer, pressed an iPhone button to talk to Siri. At his request, Siri checked the time in Paris (“8:16 p.m.,” she replied), provided a definition for the word “cleavage,” and created a list of 14 highly-rated Greek restaurants, five of which are located in Palo Alto, California.

But this amazing offering, by the standards of the time, was Siri’s introduction 12 years earlier. Gradually, people are getting used to the entry of virtual assistants with AI into their lives, with now-familiar products like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. This technology, however, It remained largely stagnant Often the subject of ridicule and jokes.

The emergence of chatbots

The tech world is now collectively turning to a new kind of virtual assistant: Chatbots. These AI-powered tools like ChatGPT From OpenAI, it can quickly improve answers to typed questions. Users now use ChatGPT to handle complex tasks such as coding, writing business proposals, and writing novels.

side by side, As a technology it doesn’t seem stagnant at all: ChatGPT, for example, is a chatbot that is rapidly improving, just a few months after its launch. Just a few days ago, OpenAI introduced its next-generation AI tool, GPT-4, which runs ChatGPT.

In this context, it seems that both the excitement surrounding chatbots and their rapid development have begun to put virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa on the sidelines of the “race” for dominance in the field of artificial intelligence.

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during the past decade, Virtual assistants have faced many obstacles. Siri, for example, faced technological hurdles, including unwieldy code that took weeks to update with basic features. At the same time, both Amazon and Google have invested in virtual assistant features that users rarely use, and so they don’t work as expected. All this as the enthusiasm for this technology gradually waned and waned.

Differences between chatbots and virtual assistants

Assistants and chatbots rely on different versions of artificial intelligence.

Chatbots work with so-called “big language models”, which are systems that are trained to recognize and produce text based on Big data sets from the web. They can then suggest words to complete the sentence.

Instead, it’s mainly called Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant Command and control systems. This means that they can only understand a limited list of questions and requests such as “How’s the weather in New York?” or “turn on the bedroom lights.” So if the user asks the virtual assistant to do something that isn’t included in their code, the bot just says it can’t help unlike chatbots.

Siri also had a cumbersome design It made adding new features time consuming. Seemingly minor updates, such as adding a few new phrases to the dataset, may require rebuilding the entire database, which can take up to six weeks. Meanwhile, adding more complex features, such as new search tools, could take nearly a year.

Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as relying on technology similar to Siri’s, did not generate the expected revenue, and former Amazon and Google executives revealed implications for their viability as a product and the potential investment to improve them.

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What does the future hold?

Many big tech companies have been trying for months to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

at its headquarters apple Last month, the company held its annual AI Summit, an internal event for its employees to learn about these tools.

Tuesday, Google It also said that it will soon launch corresponding AI tools to help companies, governments, and software developers build applications with built-in chatbots and integrate the underlying technology into their systems.

However, experts in this field believe in the future Chatbot technologies and voice assistants Eventually they will converge.

This means that people will be able to talk to chatbots while those using Apple, Amazon and Google products will be able to ask virtual assistants to help them with tasks and not just answer simple questions like the weather.

With information from The New York Times