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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella offered some critical comments regarding Siri, Alexa, and Cortana in a recent interview with the Financial Times. He called them “dumb” in compared to the potential of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which was released in November 2022. Many people are curious about the repercussions of Nadella’s ideas on the future of AI technology, which have spurred a vigorous debate in response to his remarks.
In this blog article, we’ll look at Satya Nadella’s justifications for believing that Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are stupid, and we’ll talk about what those claims mean for the future.
What Did Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella Say About Siri, Alexa, And Cortana?
In an interview with the Financial Times, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella labelled the first generation of voice assistants “dumb as a rock”, including Cortana and Siri from Apple and Alexa and Google Assistant from Google. When asked about voice assistants in 2016, Nadella reportedly said “Bots are the new apps”.
But Nadella has now adjusted his position. He reportedly told the tabloid last month that they were all “as dumb as rocks,” according to Insider. He added that “there is no such thing as a functional digital assistant” and that includes Cortana, Amazon, Google Assistant, and Siri.
He continued, “There are weaknesses in a product that was designed to operate as a brand-new portal for a large amount of data. 2014 saw the introduction of Cortana, a virtual productivity assistant from Microsoft that could answer queries, schedule regular meetings, and take notes, among other things. Microsoft, unlike Apple and Google, did not have much success with smartphones, therefore it mainly relied on third parties to install Cortana. Only 2% of users worldwide claimed to have used Cortana as their main voice assistant in 2018, according to data by Insider Intelligence.
Because CEO Satya Nadella no longer viewed the app as a threat to Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant, Microsoft stopped providing support for the Android and iOS versions of the app in 2021. Following the introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November though, interest in generative AI has surged, which makes Nadella’s views all the more important. The conversational chatbot built on OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 language model has shown a wide range of skills, including the capacity to compose essays, songs, cover letters, and even code, despite occasionally going crazy and making mistakes. It became the app with the fastest growth on the internet after gaining 100 million users in just two months.
The co-creator of Siri, Adam Cheyer, told the Financial Times that ChatGPT’s intelligence makes other voice assistants appear inept because their prior capabilities were so-called lame or too ordinary.
Why Are Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s Views Timely?
Microsoft has seized the opportunity and offered up to $10 billion over the next five years in addition to its $1 billion investment in OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT. Even a new search engine based on the same technique has been released, claiming to be even more potent than ChatGPT. Similar to ChatGPT, the new Bing can create personalized emails, translate texts into more than a hundred languages, and offer shopping recommendations.
It is obvious why Satya Nadella’s opinions on voice assistants are relevant at this time: generative AI technology is advancing and revolutionizing how we use computers and interact with technology in general. It’s understandable why Nadella thinks voice assistants are still “dumb as rocks” given Microsoft’s massive investments in OpenAI’s technology and the debut of its own potent search engine.
This article was originally published on medium on March the 8th, 2023.