Obvious Siri shortcomings

I’m curious if anybody has examples of clear Siri shortcomings like the one that’s been bugging me for years.

Siri still can’t give you directions to your next appointment. She knows all about your next appointment, including where it is, but no matter how you ask, she cannot give you directions to it.

Am I really the only person who thinks this is an absurd multi-year oversight on Apple’s part? Are there other examples of that sort of absurdity with Siri?

I think pretty much everyone is aware of the limitations of Siri and the other voice assistants. :slight_smile:

NN/G did an interesting study on this recently that’s worth reading.

The big thing that I’ve always wondered but have been unable to learn is if Siri and the others use responses as feedback. When Siri messes up, people often say something angrily or repeat the command slightly differently—are those responses being used to mark the previous answer as “wrong”?

In addition to that, Siri often will give directions to the same address in a nearby wrong area even if I very clearly specify the town. For example, I wanted to go to an address in Boston Post Road in the Bronx and Siri kept sending me to the same address in a town in Westchester about 10-15 miles north. I typed the address in to Maps and it did the same thing. Both areas are very busy and well travelled commercial/residential destinations, and it’s not like nobody ever goes either of them. This doesn’t happen as much in Google Maps. When it does, it usually confuses an out of the way address with a busy one.

Siri will often give me directions to crazy locations, thousands of miles and a continent away, when a town with the same name is thirty miles away.

My biggest problem with Siri is a simple one. I will see the Speech-to-Text working, correctly transcribing what I am saying, and then when it’s processed, Siri will have changed It to gibberish.

My first on the road experience with Siri was a horribly bad one. After being dropped off to see a client in the wilds of Brooklyn during a bad ice/snow/sleet storm, I got hopelessly lost trying to find a subway back…all trains in the area would get me to Manhattan, and I could get home from there. So I asked Siri on my brand new 4s to get me to the nearest subway station. After dragging myself and a heavy briefcase in what seemed like circles for ages, Siri told me that I had arrived at the nearest subway station. It was a Subway sandwich shop, where I bought a hot chocolate and asked for, and got, directions to the nearest subway station, which was many more blocks away in the opposite direction that I came from.

I did say a lot of bad words to Siri, and never asked her out loud for subway directions again. I hope she learned something from this way back when.

Siri started directing me to a different home earlier this year. Maps and Reminders. If I open the reminder that has my home as a location, I see the wrong address, yet she has the correct address in the suggestions below.

I’ve made sure any contact that is “me” has the correct address but she insists I live 20 miles west. Someday I’ll brave the genius bar for that.

Also, sometimes she makes me unlock my phone before giving me directions.


Getting directions to my next appointment actually worked for me once some time in March! I tried again the next day, though, and it never worked again.

I guess it’s possible I used phrasing I’d never used before, but I think they accidentrally deployed something early and then got rid of it.

I highly doubt it. I don’t think they are able to change Siri’s capabilities without an iOS update. Also worth noting: it still doesn’t work in the latest iOS 12 beta.

I think the fundamental problem with Siri is that it’s still kind of the flat file system of AI. Remember MFS? The original floppy format of the Mac? Lord, I’m old. At any rate, it was a system where everything was laid out before you in one big mess and you had to hope you could locate what you wanted.

With a hierarchical system, you start at a general level and drill down to what you want. Siri can’t seem to do this. She doesn’t know how to hold onto context. If she doesn’t understand your question, perhaps because it is a little too vague, you want to help her by offering clarification. Showing her which “subfolder” you want. But she takes you back to the root level every time and you have to start all over. Like in the current implementation, Siri would have no hope of playing a game like 20 questions with you, because that would require the kind of skill set I’m talking about.

I am looking forward to the Shortcuts feature, though. At least you might have the ability to teach Siri a few little tricks which could be useful. We’ll see I guess…

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Yes, shortcuts will more like a macro, multi step and editable.

There are moments when Siri holds the thread of a conversation. I’d certainly like more of that.

Speaking of shortcuts…and since I’m not running the beta…can you create a shortcut to connect to a specific wifi network. Sounds like yes since they’re essentially multi step macros.

If so I can’t figure out how. I tried using Workflow.app, and I could detect the network name and take action based on that, but not change the network.