Are you Siri-ous? Siri is just a toy, and that’s OK.

Chris Dixon wrote a great post in Jan '10 called 'The next big thing will start off looking like a toy' (…). Siri is a great example of this.

The leading indicator that Siri will be amazingly successful is that people are having fun with it – and it's not breaking.

Let's take the simple use case of 'Hey Siri, tell me a joke.' Consistently answering this with a humorous response requires

  • Speech recognition (or at least noise-free recording)
  • Cloud-based interpretation and response
  • Believable text-to-speech

(The last one is very important, by the way. Apple has spent decades getting text-to-speech right, complete with stresses, tones and nuances (har har). This is paying rich dividends now)

Each time someone demoes the 5 funny Siri use-cases to their friends, the system becomes smarter, but more importantly, the technology gets humanized. More people will use it because it's like a toy.

In fact, I don't have an iPhone 4S right now. Guess what – I've started using the clunky Voice Control on my iPhone 3GS these days, because I somehow trust it'll work now. And it does!

Also in Jan '10, Fred Wilson wrote a dictated blog post using an Android phone (…). I'm sure he, and other long-time android users all over, are looking at iPhone users quizzically, and wondering what the fuss is. After all, isn't this merely Voice Control plus some Text-to-Speech thrown in?

The difference is – Android's voice capabilities were a feature, Siri is a toy. And that makes all the difference.


Post on Quora


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