Siri as revolutionary as the mouse and multitouch?

Harvard Business Review has a great write up likening Siri as being as revolutionary to computing with it's hands free interaction as was the Mac with it's desktop metaphor using a mouse, and as with the iPhone using multitouch gestures. The article states that Mac brought computing accessibility to the masses but over the years, complexity via added functionality introduced issues that broke the "desktop metaphor". Siri, it contends, solves these complexity issues.

"The advantage of using speech over other interaction paradigms is that we have honed its use over thousands of years. It is entirely natural for us to talk to one another. Talking is one of the first things we learn how to do as children. It's second nature for us to ask a colleague or a friend a question and for them to answer the same way. Being able to talk to a phone like it's a personal assistant is something that people are going to get very used to, very quickly. It's a much more natural approach than using a mouse on a desktop."

iOS has had some manner of voice control since iPhone 3GS launched, and although useful, the implementation was lacking. I've often asked to voice dial "Fred" only to get my ac/dc playlist to start blaring from my speakers instead. I certainly like the idea of Siri. I definitely hope that it will work as advertised but mouse and multitouch have been tested and proven over years of use now, and Siri is only just hitting the market today.

Have you tried Siri yet? Do you think it's the next great leap forward?

Anthony

Anthony is an IT administrator, retro gamer, and accessory reviewer for iMore.

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There are 35 comments. Add yours.

Jakob Adolfsson says:

Considering my brother just called me over the phone asked siri when my birthday was and it responded within a second was nothing short of amazing!

xexets says:

Sorry, I really don't want to sound pedantic, but in the first two rows of your article you might want to change IT'S into ITS, as this is the possessive adjective that you wanted to use, whereas IT'S is the contraction of IT IS, which clearly is not what you had in mind. Sorry.

charlestonsc says:

Actually, it would need to be ITS'. ITS without the apostrophe would indicate plural. The iPhone doesn't recognize ITS' though. It keeps trying to change it to IT'S. Weird.

fastlane says:

It's not weird. There is a very good reason it keeps changing it. It's trying to teach you something that you're mistaken about.

xexets says:

Seriously? Are you native speakers? I am not, that's why I ask. But believe me ITS is the possessive. IT'S is the contraction of IT IS or IT HAS and ITS' does not exist.
Here is one of the random pages you can find about it: http://garyes.stormloader.com/its.html
Plus, yes, I noticed that IOS keeps correcting IT'S, but that's just plain DEMENTED.

GeorgeDW says:

Don't know why you're replying to fastlane, he's agreeing with you (that its' is wrong, unless you are talking about multiple its possessing something- i.e. "the its' spaceship was the spaceship of the its").

charlestonsc says:

Actually, it would need to be ITS'. ITS without the apostrophe would indicate plural. The iPhone doesn't recognize ITS' though. It keeps trying to change it to IT'S. Weird.

iDavey says:

Eh...it is evolutionary. But it's not on the same level of mouse and multitouch in my eyes.
While Siri will be very nice in your own little isolated area. It begins to get annoying when you have a group of folks talking to Siri, all speaking commands into their phones at once. That would be mighty annoying.
It's not going to change the natural way we use these devices, like the mouse and multitouch did (and I'm still not all the way there on multitouch, but I'll concede it), But I will say it'll add a level there for accessibility and ease.

Nick says:

I agree with this fully. I really don't see myself using it all that much especially at places like work or out at bars. It's a cool fun feature but it's not multitouch and definitely no mouse... It's a feature evolution not a mobile revolution. If the 4s didn't have Siri I still would have purchased the device.

iDavey says:

Right. I really want people to learn how to use evolutionary and revolutionary correctly.
Siri, and voice commands in general, was already there. This is an evolution of that.
The mouse is revolutionary because it took a command driven interface and turned it to GUI with the mouse being the tool used to make it happen.
The reason I don't give multitouch as much revolutionary credit is because multitouch was already realized. The point of shrinking a current technology was already ingrained into the scientific mind at that point. It's more so evolutionary in the sense that it had to occur at one point. It was just all about who was going to take that bold leap and do it.

Kenobi says:

I'm reminded of the scene in Star Trek 4 where Scotty tries to use a present day computer...."ah a mouse, how quaint"

johncblandii says:

Funny...I saw that the other day and thought the same thing.

Dmahoney94 says:

Can you change it's name to Jarvis? Honestly surprised they couldn't use a less robotic-sounding voice.

OrionAntares#CB says:

They should have licensed the name HAL 9000!

Mysticme says:

Lol, you really think its THAT revolutionary? Grow up, voice to text and text to voice has been around longer than the iPodge range

Carioca says:

Tsk, tsk, yet another business publication pumping Apple stock. Next, the Wall Street Journal will say that the iPhone4S is the most revolutionary device unde the sun, and an analyst from the Finantial Times will classify it as "game changer".
I remember the day when tech publications talked about tech stuff.

OrionAntares#CB says:

So... fragmentation you say?
Someone had to throw that out there given the irony of this move with Siri.

Mav says:

Absolutely revolutionary. Many are just too shortsighted to see it or don't want to admit it. The next step for Siri AI is to learn and recognize a person's unique "voice print" and tailor its response accordingly. .

OrionAntares#CB says:

I think the more prevalent issue is that to many people don't know what "revolutionary" actually means...

Esteban Camacho2000 says:

No. its evolutionary. Voice commands were already there. Siri improve upon it.

SteveW928 says:

Haven't tried it yet... but I'd say the answer is no until it has the ability to easily pick YOUR voice out of a crowd or among other noises (I doubt it does that well). Second, it would have to be pretty good at parsing your questions and commands (again, I haven't tried it, but if Watson couldn't do it, I doubt the iPhone will). Third, more fundamentally, do we even want to use such an interface type outside of being alone in the car using it to help with hands-free? In other words, outside of a few unique situations, I'd RATHER use a mouse or multi-touch to interact with a device. Talking to your device, IMO, only looks cool and 'future-y' on SciFi programs like Star Trek.

Bhadwick says:

I think Apple have put a few Easter Eggs, into Siri... Ask it what the meaning of life is, and it instantly answers 42!
Made me so happy!

johncblandii says:

Yeah,that's cool. The Wolfram integration was a great move.

joeblow says:

If it works as advertised it is revolutionary (revolutionary |ˌrevəˈloō sh əˌnerē|
• involving or causing a complete or dramatic change).
It idea of multitouch had been around for years it was how it was done, implemented and worked that caused the revolution. Same with the mouse. Texas instruments and many makers had mice io devises --Steve "just made it work" simply and effectively--revolution.
Voice has been around for years, but has never worked WELL, and rarely worked at all without a ton of "training."
Will this be a revolution, maybe, maybe not history will tell, but if it works seamlessly in the manner so far shown, it could. Especially for younger generations who are not going to have a strangle hold on the "mouse" of the past.

johncblandii says:

It talks back. That's all that is different from many already out there. The UI stuff is cool too.
Nothing revolutionary here. Definitely and evolution on previous works. No one called Siri revolutionary before this.

Lars says:

I dunno, I was not as impressed by Siri as I thought I would be based on the glowing reviews.
I picked up my wife's 4S this morning and played with it briefly. It made several errors as I attempted to dictate a medium sized text message.
It is an improvement for sure, but it doesn't match the hype yet. And it certainly will not be replacing other input methods anytime soon.

johncblandii says:

That's why it is still labeled Beta.

LozBlanko says:

Can we have some comments from people who've actually used Siri on the 4S please? This whole thread has no actual users. How about someone dictate their response? I would say that would be pretty revolutionary, not evolutionary.

johncblandii says:

how do you know who hasn't who has not use it?
oh and this was dictated on my android phone using native voice actions.

IXInaplesIXI says:

I think it is for certin people with disabilities.

IXInaplesIXI says:

Can't wait for an update with different personality or voices

Tony Allen says:

Not revolutionary, not in the slightest. Siri is just an evolution of technology that's already been around for a good while. Using the search button on my phone and telling it to navigate to NYC, play music by a specific artist in my library, or send a text message to someone works just fine 99.9% of the time. Especially with the microphone setup on my Bionic.
This is only revolutionary to those who've always been on iPhone and refused to give Android a chance. Since we've had voice commands/interaction for a long time.

Battle Geek says:

I think the point that Anthony is trying to push is that Apple have yet again assembled something amazing again. Just like when they decided with the iPhone, the iPad, App store and now Siri. The technology is always around but fragmented -until Apple decide to put aggregate it it into a product and then as usual it starts to coz a buzz. People wrote the iPhone, the iPad but its certainly a mistake to write off Siri. Soon we will see the Siri Killers popping up in a few months.
http://www.gadgetrophy.com/2011/10/apple-throws-quicker-iphone-at-androi...

dloveprod says:

Yes it is, I love talking to my Xbox kinect.

Geneva Peyser says:

EAST OR WEST YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!!!!!!!