Why I won't be using digital assistants such as Cortana anytime soon

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 6, 2014

Apple users have Siri, Android users Google Now and Microsoft customers get Cortana with the release of Windows 10.

These voice-activated digital assistants work all in the same way. You activate them either with an activation phrase or by performing some form of action. Once activated, they accept voice input, interpret it and produce an output for you.

Siri, where is the next Mc Donalds, Ok Google, give me a weather report for today, Cortana, who won the Superbowl in 2013.

All of these questions and many more can be asked and the digital assistants will produce an answer that is often spot on.

The relatively new feature has its advantages. You can look something up without using your hands and it works considerably well for questions that have only one valid answer.

This means that questions such as "what is the best football team in the world", "should I wear black or blue to work today" or "is Assassins Creed Unity a good game" won't produce valid answers for some.

We are far away from communicating with AI that is as capable as the droids in Star Wars or other Science Fiction movies.

While I do believe that this can become a great thing in the distant future, it is more of a gimmick right now in my opinion.

2014-12-06 08.24.01

Here are reasons why I won't be using digital assistants anytime soon:

  1. The assistants are limited right now and while they provide answers for basic questions they understand, there is a lot that they can't do for you just now or don't understand.
  2. There is no way to train them yourself. What I mean by that is to make them learn things that are outside their scope. You cannot program the assistant on your own.
  3. The need to speak to the device works if you are alone or in a small group, but it is far from ideal if you are in a crowded place. I'm not only talking about speech recognition but also disturbing others by speaking to your device in public.
  4. Your commands are processed remotely which means that whatever you or anyone near you says at the time is transferred to a remote server for analysis.

All are valid in my opinion. As far as 1) is concerned: I cannot think of a single situation in my life where a voice activated assistant would be useful. I'm not driving cars which is the only situation that I can think of where this may come in handy if you need information right at that point in time.

I'm not saying that they cannot be useful in situations for some people but for me it seems to be mostly hype at this point in time.

Now you: Are you using a digital assistant? If so for what?

Why I won't be using digital assistants such as Cortana anytime soon
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Why I won't be using digital assistants such as Cortana anytime soon
Several reasons why I won't be using digital voice-activated assistants anytime soon.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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