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With iOS 12 comes a series of new features for Siri, the most interesting of which are Siri Suggestions and Shortcuts.
Siri Suggestions will surface recommended actions using more than 100 different factors such as time of day, location, or even the Wi-Fi network you’re on to determine whether or not a shortcut suggestion surfaces on your smartphone lock screen or Apple Watch face. A standalone Shortcuts app also lets users create custom commands.
Whereas before with SiriKit you could connect with a limited number of apps for use cases like sending messages or hailing a ride from Uber, Shortcuts appears to be more flexible than similar products from Alexa and Google Assistant, and is capable of connecting Siri with apps that enable Shortcuts APIs.
That means you could, for example, order groceries with Instacart or carry out multiple tasks with a single custom-made utterance, but depending on how you use your smartphone, Siri Suggestions associated with your routines could become intimate and quick, and that’s going to require people to trust Siri.
Of course the need for trust in AI is by no means limited to Siri. When Alexa claims to accidentally record a person’s voice, that more than likely shapes the perception of assistants beyond Alexa and helps along fears that smart speakers spreading through homes the world over are simply surveillance devices.
Trust is also essential for the critical forms of AI emerging in industries like health care and autonomous vehicles, and so many other applications of AI in the headlines. Take a good look at the AI channel on VentureBeat this week: AI is promising to change our world with robotics systems that help people after a strokeor deliver internet to remote parts of the world without high-speed access today; to diagnose pneumonia more accurately; to move robots with millimeter accuracy; and of course to help identify bias in AI.
As advances continue to be made, AI is going to get so much more intimate — and borderline creepy.
Trust was a central theme at an AI conference held by Affectiva last week in Boston, where the emotion detection company is attempting to remain transparent while powering emotion recognition services in vehicles. Affectiva wants to give in-camera cars the ability to recognize when you’re distracted, tired, or angry, and track people’s emotions. The practical applications of such a technology are evident. Your car should be able to tell you when you’re probably too tired to be on the road, but to do so requires trust.
A while back, I wrote about Snips, an open source assistant that sells its service by ensuring users total privacy. Snips and other assistants like it have used privacy concerns surrounding Alexa and Google Assistant to create an opportunity.
I’ve said before that in order for any assistant to be truly great, it’s got to help you do the 20 things you do on a routine basis and help you do them in an effortless way. But in order for people to trust their assistant with those potentially intimate tasks, companies will have to soothe fears like the kind highlighted in an Accenture UK study this week that found nearly half of people were convinced their speaker was listening to them. As a result, more than 25 percent of UK adults surveyed said they were unwilling to pay bills or transfer money with an AI assistant.
For Shortcuts to succeed, it will require developers to enable Shortcuts APIs, as well as technological feats like low word error rates for speech recognition and smart predictive algorithms. But it’s also going to require trust, as will virtually every other application of AI on the market today.
AI Staff Writer
P.S. Please enjoy this video of Joe Rogan’s conversation with Elon Musk about AI.
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