Siri is clearly not the kind of voice assistant you want to use. Even with deep integration with Apple branded devices, you are unlikely to find someone using Siri on an ongoing basis. And if you find it, you are unlikely to hear praise – the possibilities of a virtual assistant are too limited. Send a message, turn on the music or make simple calculations – please. But a step to the right, a step to the left, and it turns out that Siri is practically useless. But she perfectly listens to everything that is happening around, and turns on even when she does not seem to be asked.
If you open Google and enter into the search engine the phrase “Why Siri …” without appending it in its entirety, you will see that the most popular request is “Why does Siri turn on by itself“. This is a fairly common problem, because the voice assistant can really be activated without logical reasons and start listening to what others are talking about. Proponents of conspiracy theories will, of course, prefer to call it wiretapping, surveillance, and anything else. However, what is happening has a completely logical explanation.
How to call Siri
Scientists at the Ruhr University and the Max Planck Society’s Institute of Computer Science conducted their own research and found out that there are more than 1000 words that can provoke a false positive Siri. That is, these are the words and expressions that we pronounce in everyday life and thereby randomly activate the voice assistant. Therefore, it is not unusual for a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker to grab some words, take them into their own account and launch Siri, which begins to listen and even – albeit randomly – answer you.
Typically, words that cause Siri to be unintentionally activated are homonyms, that is, similar in spelling and sound, but different in meaning. For example, city, seer, sing or sire. In fact, there are many more such trigger words, just as part of the study we studied the effect on Siri of words from English, German and Chinese. But there is still Russian, where there are also enough words similar to Siri: gray, lilac, sur, etc. However, it is not always required that the trigger word be similar in sound to the name of the assistant. Some combinations of words are perceived by the algorithms as treatment, even if they sound completely different.
How Siri Works
Why is this so? The thing is that the voice assistant must respond to user commands as quickly as possible and without delay. After all, before you begin to perform the task, he must first turn on. If Siri or Google Assistant, which by the way, suffering from the same problems, will wait until the user says the phrase-activator, it will take an extra one and a half to two seconds and erase the feeling of seamless communication. Therefore, voice assistants are specially programmed so that they are included in the middle of the phrase, without waiting for its end.
Undoubtedly, from the point of view of convenience, this approach is very logical. But what about privacy? After all, Siri and another voice assistant can hear what users consider unacceptable. There is no doubt such a risk. Despite the fact that Apple allows you to refuse to participate in the Siri improvement program and send recorded data for analysis, we probably still don’t know if our conversations are saved and if someone else really listens to them. But, let’s be honest with each other: your confidential conversations matter only to you, while everyone else just doesn’t give a damn about them.