Why Apple's Siri isn't as smart as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (2023)

At any given time, most of us are within earshot of a virtual assistant. They're in our pockets, our houses and our cars.

Whether you're using Apple's Siri to remind you of an appointment, asking Amazon's Alexa to play a song for you or consulting the Google Assistant for a local weather report, interacting with these non-human assistants has become normal.

Siri came to the iPhone in 2011, but the underlying technologies are actually older than you might think.

The first machine capable of synthesizing speech was created by Bell Labs 80 years ago in 1939.

In 1952, Bell Labs invented a machine that could understand the spoken numbers 0 through 9. Two years later, in 1954, an IBM machine, in collaboration with linguists at Georgetown, was able to translate 60 Russian sentences into English.

In 1962, IBM created the Shoebox, which could understand 16 spoken words. By 1976, Carnegie Mellon increased that number to over a thousand. And by the mid 1980s, machines could understand tens of thousands of spoken words.

Since then, scientists have started combining these processes with artificial intelligence, a field that itself has been around since the 1950s.

As a result we now have things like Alexa, Siri, the Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana that are able to understand us when we talk.

Craig Federighi, Apple Senior Vice President Software Engineering

Stephen Lam | Reuters

(Video) Why Siri Is Not As Smart As Alexa Or Google Assistant

Different kinds of AI

Artificial intelligence is a big reason computer scientists have been able to make assistants easier to use, but there could be a difference between what you might think of when you hear AI and what it actually means.

"There are two types of AI," explains Joyce Chai, a professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University.

"The strong AI mainly deals with developing systems that can reason or can think or act like a human. Then the other kind is the weak A.I. which is more focused on specific tasks. And this also includes the virtual assistants. We're still very far away from strong AI."

Traditionally, to be able to make a decision about something, a computer needs a set of rules pre-defined by a human. By drawing on machine learning, which is a type of AI, computers are able to infer rules themselves after looking through huge amounts of data.

In this case, they can learn to understand language by looking at how people talk and interact. That requires a lot of data.

(Video) Which smart assistant should you choose? Siri vs Alexa vs Google Assistant

Adam Isaak | CNBC

Natalie Schluter, an associate professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, explains.

"The main challenge for these companies is to acquire enough data in enough diverse forms to be able to actually do something for more than one particular person. It might be very interesting in a lab to create a product that can understand you and you alone. But of course there are different dialects, there are different accents, there's different tones of voice."

And it's not just the amount of data—the kind of data matters too. If your training data only comes from white men in San Francisco, you're going to end up with an AI that can understand a very narrow group of people.

"They have clever people working at Apple and very clever people working at Amazon," says Schluter. "But at some point we have to make sure that these people are intervening in the data and making sure that they're exposed to the right amount of data from a diverse number of people."

Why Siri is lagging

So why doesn't Siri always understand what you're looking for?

In part, it comes down to things that have nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with the reality of how different companies work.

"One of the challenges of Siri is the negative image that they created by over-promising, under-delivering in the early days," says Keyvan Mohajer, the co-founder and CEO SoundHound, a company that offers a virtual assistant that competes with Siri, along with music-recognition technology and voice tools for other companies to use.

"The other challenge they have is, they haven't really increased the knowledge base as quickly as you would expect. Amazon went from a handful of skills to hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands. Apple hasn't really built a developer ecosystem."

Another possible reason Siri has lagged behind is because of Apple's strict privacy standards. While many virtual assistants collect as much of your data as possible to train their AI, Apple has been vocal about the importance of minimizing and anonymizing that kind of data collection. While it's been suggested that this results in a less-useful assistant, Apple strongly disagrees.

"We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at a commencement speech at Duke University in 2018.

Beyond that, Apple is a notoriously secretive company.

"What are people working on, what do they think are really important problems at Apple? We have no idea about that," says Schluter.

"Usually at Amazon, at Google, at other companies, Microsoft, we researchers, we all kind of work in the same field and we go to the same conferences. We publish, we collaborate together. Apple is a complete closed book."

But it does seem like Apple has started to take these things more seriously. Last year it hired John Giannandrea, a renowned computer scientist, away from Google to be its Senior VP of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. And earlier this year it hired Ian Goodfellow, one of Google's top AI researchers, to be director of machine learning.

(Video) 7 Reasons You NEED Apple HomeKit! Sorry Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant

(Video) Google Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa Vs Apple Siri - The Complete Battle

John Giannandrea

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One study done by Loup Ventures at the end of 2018 showed Siri not yet in the lead, but gaining on its competitors.

Plus just this week at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, it announced updates to Siri Shortcuts, which allows developers greater Siri integration, as well as an update to Siri's text to speech engine, which now uses a voice generated entirely by software.

But there are still things that Apple could do if it wants to make Siri more impressive.

"The first version of Siri did 12 things," says Mohajer, "but to be really useful you need to do everything. That's about coverage and adding more content and having an architecture that allows you to add content and increase to understanding faster than linearly."

(Video) Alexa, Siri, Google: The future of smart assistants

He adds, "I think one of the most promising things that Apple can do is to create a very successful developer community around Siri. I don't think anybody has done that successfully in the area of voice AI."


Why is Siri not as smart? ›

The reason Siri can sometimes give you the cold shoulder is that for many years, all of Siri's vocal processing wasn't done on your device. Instead, that work was offloaded to Apple's servers for processing, and the answers were sent back to you.

Who is more intelligent Siri or Google Assistant? ›

Siri has gradually become better and better in this category, but still lags behind Bixby and Google Assistant. It can't control as many device functions, and while there are exceptions, Apple skews too hard towards its own services.

Who is more intelligent Siri or Alexa? ›

Conclusion. Features and functionalities of both these platforms are on par. But due to its universality in connecting with multiple devices seamlessly, Alexa wins over Siri, a premium a sophisticated system.

Is it true that Siri is smarter than Google? ›

Who is smarter than Siri? In a recent test, researchers asked each of the smart assistants 800 questions, and the Google Assistant was able to understand 100% of the questions and answer 93% of them correctly. In that same test, Siri was only able to answer 83% of questions correctly.

Why is Siri considered a weak AI? ›

Voice-based personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, for example, could be called weak AI systems because they work within a limited pre-defined set of functions, implying that their responses are often pre-programmed.

How do I make Siri more intelligent? ›

Train Siri

If Siri often misunderstands you, it may be time to train your assistant to better understand your voice. To do this, go to Settings > Siri & Search > Listen for "Hey Siri," and turn it off and then back on. You're prompted to set up "Hey Siri." Tap Continue, then say each phrase that appears on the screen.

Which is the smartest AI assistant? ›

Out of all of the AI assistants on the market, Google Assistant is considered one of the most advanced. Thanks to various partnerships with several companies, the AI assistant is now available on many devices like smartphones, headphones, home appliances, and cars.

Who is the best intelligent assistant? ›

Best smart speaker overall

While Google Assistant is a little smarter, Alexa works with more smart home devices and makes setup with voice commands easier. Ultimately, we'll give the smart-home edge in the best smart speaker category to Amazon thanks to Alexa and the $70, fourth-generation Amazon Echo.

Which assistant has the best voice? ›

The best voice assistants: Summed up
Amazon AlexaGoogle Assistant
Best for Device CompatibilityBest at Responding
Voice-match technology
'Delete recording' optionsVoice and SettingsSettings
Instant translation technology
2 more rows
Sep 9, 2021

Can Alexa beat Siri? ›

Alexa handily wins the voice assistant popularity contest against Siri and Google Assistant in the U.S., UK, and Germany, according to the new Voice Consumer Index 2022 from voice agency Vixen Labs.

Who is smarter than Siri? ›

It's great being able to compose messages accurately with your voice too. However, Google Assistant is generally a little smarter than Siri.

Does Siri have an IQ? ›

The information and test were provided by the researchers Feng Liu, Yong Shi, and Ying Liu. Usually, a 6–year–old human has an IQ of 55.5, and as you can see, Google's is a little bit lower, but Siri's is twice as low – 23.9.

Who is smarter than Google? ›

A rat is smarter than Google. And that's no dig at Google, according to artificial intelligence researchers Yann LeCun and Josh Tenenbaum.

What is the IQ of Google Assistant? ›

This is the percentage of questions each assistant answered correctly: Google Assistant – 92.9 percent. Siri – 83.1 percent.

Is Amazon Alexa a weak AI? ›

Weak AI includes self-driving cars and virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google search. Most of the time, when the word artificial intelligence (AI) is used nowadays, it refers to weak AI.

What is the biggest problem in artificial intelligence? ›

One of the biggest artificial intelligence problems is that the sophisticated and expensive processing resources needed are unavailable to the majority of businesses. Additionally, they lack access to the expensive and scarce AI expertise required to utilize those resources effectively.

Why are people so scared of AI? ›

Public panic about AI is usually centred on a few fears: It will replace human jobs and ultimately put people out of work. It will value its final goal or mission over human life, resulting in mankind's enslavement or complete destruction.

Is Siri secretly listening? ›

As of 2022, Siri does not eavesdrop on your conversations. Voice assistant technologies such as Siri are constantly waiting for their trigger phrases. For Siri, this is “Hey Siri” or similar. However, while Siri is listening all the time for that phrase, it does not record until it hears it.

What is the dark side of Siri? ›

Siri's Dark Side

Siri has some surprising, hair-raising, and at times, spine-chilling responses. It makes casual references to nimbostratus, a type of cloud. That's funny and expected. But after a quick look outside, you might see that nimbostratus are precisely the kind of clouds hanging above you.

What cool things can Siri do? ›

For more examples, see any of the following:
  • Announce calls, messages, and more with Siri on iPhone.
  • Use Siri to play music on iPhone and Listen to music with Apple Music Voice on iPhone.
  • Control your home using Siri on iPhone.
  • Use Siri, Maps, and the Maps widget to get directions on iPhone.
  • Add Siri Shortcuts on iPhone.

What is the smartest AI to talk to? ›

Companies are launching their best AI chatbots to carry on 1:1 conversations with customers and employees.
Best AI Chatbots for 2023
  • Alexa for Business. 4.4.
  • Drift. 4.4.
  • Salesforce Einstein. 4.4.
  • Dasha AI. 4.3.
  • SurveySparrow. 4.25.
  • LivePerson. 4.2.
  • ManyChat. 4.15.
  • Intercom. 4.1.
Jan 2, 2023

Who is the strongest AI in the world? ›

While AI has been improving, the November 2022 launch of ChatGPT has been a game changer. ChatGPT is a conversational application of GPT-3, the most powerful AI system in the world, allowing you to have a natural conversation with this powerful technology.

Who has the most advanced artificial intelligence? ›

10 Most Advanced AI Companies
  • International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) Market Capitalization as of 12/5: $133.28 billion. ...
  • Salesforce, Inc. (NYSE:CRM) ...
  • Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) Market Capitalization as of 12/5: $214.16 billion. ...
  • Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META) ...
  • NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)
Dec 6, 2022

Who is better Alexa or Google? ›

We've already explained above that Google Home slightly lags in third-party smart device support when compared to Alexa. Although it's closing the gap, this is still a major factor that'll affect which one you pick. Also, Google does not offer any way to change the “wake word” for its devices.

What is the most popular assistant? ›

When it comes to answering questions, Google Assistant takes the crown. During the test of more than 4,000 questions led by Stone Temple, Google Assistant consistently outperformed other industry leaders including Alexa, Siri, and Cortana when recognizing and responding to questions correctly.

Which voice assistant is best in 2022? ›

How to choose the best smart speaker for you
  • Amazon Echo (4th generation) ...
  • Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) ...
  • Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Generation) ...
  • Google Nest Hub (2nd Generation) ...
  • Amazon Echo Studio. ...
  • Amazon Echo Show 5. ...
  • Sonos One. ...
  • Audio Pro Addon C5A. A class-leading wireless speaker with Alexa is a winning combination.
Feb 7, 2023

Is there anything better than Siri? ›

There are more than 25 alternatives to Siri for a variety of platforms, including Android, Linux, Windows, iPhone and Mac. The best alternative is Mycroft, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like Siri are Google Assistant, Siri Shortcuts, Hound and Dragonfire.

Is Siri or Google Assistant better than Alexa? ›

Each personal assistant has its pros and cons. If you want the smartest, you'll want a device with Google Assistant. If you want the most compatibility with apps and services, you'll want a device with Alexa. If you want the funniest, you'll want an Apple device for Siri.

What is Siri's real name? ›

Susan Alice Bennett (née Cameron, born July 31, 1949) is an American voice actress and a former backup singer for Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach. She is best known as the female American voice of Apple's Siri personal assistant, since the service was introduced on the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011.

Who has the greatest voice of all time? ›

The greatest singing voices of all time
  • 1 of 35. Celine Dion. Kevin Winter/Getty Images. ...
  • 2 of 35. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
  • 3 of 35. Etta James. ...
  • 4 of 35. Nina Simone. ...
  • 5 of 35. Aretha Franklin. ...
  • 6 of 35. Whitney Houston. ...
  • 7 of 35. Smokey Robinson. ...
  • 8 of 35. Mariah Carey.
14 hours ago

Who has the most unique voice? ›

The 10 Most Unique Voices In Music
  • Louis Armstrong.
  • Bjork.
  • Snoop Dogg.
  • Barry Gibb / The Bee Gees.
  • Horace Andy.
  • Liam Gallagher.
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
  • Nina Simone.
Feb 12, 2019

Who has the best male voice of all time? ›

The 20 best male singers of all time, ranked in order of pure...
  • Elton John. EltonJohnVEVO. ...
  • Paul McCartney. Mercury. ...
  • Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart. ...
  • Andy Williams. burtmurdoch. ...
  • Tom Jones. ...
  • Michael Bublé ...
  • Art Garfunkel. ...
  • Stevie Wonder.
Jan 3, 2023

What is Siri Alexa called? ›

Voice assistants are software agents that can interpret human speech and respond via synthesized voices.

Can Siri or Alexa call 911? ›

But will Alexa dial 911 for you in an emergency? You can't ask Alexa to dial 911 or other emergency services directly, unless you have an Echo Connect hooked up to a landline phone. You can, however, set up a personal emergency contact, and turn on Alexa Guard for home security.

Is Siri a robot or AI? ›

Siri is Apple's virtual assistant for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS devices that uses voice recognition and is powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

What makes Siri so special? ›

Siri uses a combination of artificial intelligence and its continually growing knowledge of you to understand not only what you say, but what you mean.

Who invented Siri? ›

“We launched a free app in the app store and 2 weeks later we get this call… 'Heeeey it's Steve, whatcha doin'? Wanna come over to my house tomorrow?' ” Adam Cheyer is the creator of Siri, Bixby, Viv Labs, Change.org, and Sentient.

Is Siri artificially intelligent? ›

They both rely on natural language generation and processing and machine learning, forms of artificial intelligence, in order to effectively operate and perform better over time.

Can Siri be considered artificial intelligence? ›

Siri is Apple's virtual assistant for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS devices that uses voice recognition and is powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

What is smarter than Siri? ›

It's great being able to compose messages accurately with your voice too. However, Google Assistant is generally a little smarter than Siri.

What is the IQ of Siri? ›

Does Siri have an IQ? The information and test were provided by the researchers Feng Liu, Yong Shi, and Ying Liu. Usually, a 6–year–old human has an IQ of 55.5, and as you can see, Google's is a little bit lower, but Siri's is twice as low – 23.9.

Who programmed Siri? ›

Adam Cheyer is the creator of Siri, Bixby, Viv Labs, Change.org, and Sentient. Billions of people have used his AI assistants.

What does the name Siri mean? ›

Siri is a Scandinavian feminine given name. It is a short form of Sigrid, from Old Norse Sigríðr, composed of the elements sigr "victory" and fríðr "beautiful".

How old is Siri? ›

In April 2010, Apple acquired Siri, and in October 2011, Siri was unveiled as an integrated feature of the Apple iPhone 4S.

What is the smartest smart assistant? ›

Forty-four percent of those surveyed think Alexa is the brainiest, beating out second-place Google Assistant, which was rated smartest by 33%; Apple's Siri isn't far behind in third.

Who has highest IQ ever? ›

The appropriately named Marilyn vos Savant is in a class of her own. According to Guinness World Records, her astonishing IQ of 228 is the highest ever recorded. The daughter of an Italian and a German immigrant, vos Savant was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1946.

What is the IQ of Elon Musk? ›

Elon Musk IQ is close to this starting point, with an estimated score of 155. The typical genius has an IQ of around 140.


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