Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?


  • area_can

    Do you use something like Siri/Cortana/Google assistant/Alexa/Samsung S AssistantBixby? What do you use it for?



  • I use Google assistant to set my alarm. And sometimes when I'm bored I ask it silly things.


  • BINNED

    I occasionally try a voice search, which reminds me why I don't use voice assistants


  • SockDev

    I know people that use such things mostly for amusement at how terrible they are.



  • @bb36e said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    Do you use something like Siri/Cortana/Google assistant/Alexa/Samsung S AssistantBixby?

    No. The chief reason is I don’t want to be talking to my computer/iPad/whatever and having anyone nearby listen in on what I’m doing annoying or confusing people nearby by having them think I’m talking to them. A secondary — but still important to me — reason is that doing so would require me to talk unnaturally in “standard” (Hollandic/TV) Dutch rather than my own local dialect. (Until these things learn to recognise language variations, if you ask me they’re another nail in the coffin of dialects — which is probably why they’ll end up as a chicken-and-egg situation in this regard.)

    What do you use it for?

    I can’t answer that question.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @bb36e said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    What do you use it for?

    Only ever seem to use it by accident.


  • Fake News

    If your voice can power something, that's pretty impressive.


  • area_can

    @lolwhat it usually ends with a sore throat



  • I have used them a few times, when I want to set a timer for a few minutes and for whatever reason it feels easier to speak than to navigate the Android or Windows timer interface.

    It doesn't happen very often. And I don't remember ever using them for anything else.



  • My 2 year old "uses" it on my wife's iphone. Strangely enough Siri understands the baby talk correctly more often than if an adult tries it, leading me to believe Siri was intended to be a toddler's plaything all along.



  • @lolwhat said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    If your voice can power something, that's pretty impressive.

    Hmmm...

    For example, a sound at SPL = 85 dB or p = 0.356 Pa in air (ρ = 1.2 kg·m−3 and c = 343 m·s−1) through a surface of area A = 1 m2 normal to the direction of propagation (θ = 0 °) has a sound energy flux P = 0.3 mW.

    85dB is close to standard screaming volume, so if you could collect that energy efficiently you might be able to power a small microcontroller, but probably not any screen attached to it.

    I'll stick with my potato batteries.



  • @the_quiet_one Has anyone tried to build a chatbot for babies? It could work.



  • I briefly tried the Google one and then Cortana after I got a pair of bluetooth headphones. I then stopped trying.

    Problems: Too unreliable (or my spoken english is too incomprehensible), no/bad support for dialects (or, in some cases, the local language(s)), would annoy people around me (especially at work), plus privacy (on one hand, I don't care if people around me know that I need to buy more toilet paper on my way home; on the other hand, they don't really need to know either).

    In the end, the few things that these assistants manage are easier and more reliably performed by pulling out the phone and just doing it. Voice just seems like such a shitty input method for most things.



  • Dilbert had a great cartoon back before Scott Adams went insane that was about a hypothetical future computer where the screen was a pair of thick-ass glasses, the keyboard was you wiggling your hands around in space and you'd give it instructions by talking to yourself like a crazy person.

    Dilbert sees a guy doing this and asks, "oh, so you have one of these new computers too?" And the guy replies, "No, I just a retard. Common mistake."

    Except it probably didn't use the word retard.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I have an echo dot. I quite like it. It's in the kitchen, so it's handy for conversions, playing music, and adding thing to the grocery list, all while my hands are covered in whatever I'm cooking.



  • I set alarms when I'm cooking and I ask for the high/low of the day sometimes. I also ask for directions to restaurants sometimes.

    Typical day:
    0_1503185430225_d9ede9ae-59a2-48ee-8bdd-8a5cc23054f7-image.png



  • @yamikuronue I kind of want to try that but I worry I'd spend the money and never get in the habit of using it, so it'd be a waste of a precious kitchen power outlet. (I have a 1927 house, all power outlets are precious.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @anonymous234 said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    @the_quiet_one Has anyone tried to build a chatbot for babies? It could work.

    Close?:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    (I have a 1927 house, all power outlets are precious.)

    I totally understand. Getting new power outlets in the kitchen is a worthwhile upgrade, but only if you're remodelling anyway. I do not regret the expenditure on that when we had the kitchen done in our (1902) house; it's made a gigantic difference.

    Don't think I'd put a digital assistant in though. With a few appliances going, it's a rather noisy environment…



  • @bb36e said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    @lolwhat it usually ends with a sore throat

    Go slower and give "I need a break" signals non-verbally.

    :giggity:



  • I've tried Siri once or twice just to screw around with it. I've disabled S-Voice on my Galaxy. I will never buy an Echo or similar. (Actually, a relative was going to buy me one for XMas, but then thought better of it and asked me first, and after saying thank you for thinking of me, outlined why I'll never have one of those in my home).

    Every time I've ever used Siri, it has ALWAYS ended up with "I don't know, let me search the web for you", followed by opening http://google.com?s={whatever Lorne just said}. Thanks, fucknuts, I could have searched the web myself. Fuck off.

    Assuming I'm even in a place where I can have a conversation with my phone. Like, if I just read the stripper's driver's license after sneaking backstage, I can't just say outloud "Siri, does Candy Mills have any roomate or relatives who live with her that will notice if she is gone more than 24 hours? Also, Siri, what is the fastest route from here to my motel?"

    Oh, and of course it requires always-on Internet connection, so I can't say "Siri, set an alarm" unless I'm connected to the Internet. Double fuck off.

    So do I want to use something that barely works, that most of the time I'm not in a position to use-- just to provide free voice-recognition data to a multi-billion dollar company's R&D department for free? Fuck off with that.



  • @pjh said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    I saw a bit about this on a consumer programme on TV a while ago, in which a man from an organisation that tries to hack these things (to see how easy this is to do, and so warn about them) showed one toy doll that he claimed couldn’t be sold in Germany due to being classed as an illegal listening device there.



  • @lorne-kates essentially covered it for me.

    I've tried Siri once or twice just to screw around with it.

    Every time I've ever used Siri, it has ALWAYS ended up with "I don't know, let me search the web for you" [...] Assuming I'm even in a place where I can have a conversation with my phone. [...] Oh, and of course it requires always-on Internet connection

    For me, it looks like the old saw of "in the year 2000 we'll all be flying to work": nice idea in a movie or whatever, just too impractical in reality to be of any use.

    Some of the impractical aspects may go away as technology improves (better answers without resorting to direct web searches, better voice recognition, always-on internet may become a non-issue at some point in the future...). The social aspects, though, I don't see them ever going away, so I foresee that the only socially accepted use will really be "assistant tasks" i.e. running a timer, managing a schedule and other basic admin things. More complex queries will, imo, never really catch up.


  • SockDev

    i use google home, but 99.999% of the time my interactions with it are:

    • Saying "Hey, Google. Lights out!" because i'm comfortable on the couch and don't want to get up to turn the lights out.
      or
    • Using it to cast music too because it has better speakers than my phone.

    so....... yeah........


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @jaloopa said in Voice-powered digital assistants: who uses them?:

    I occasionally try a voice search, which reminds me why I don't use voice assistants

    I occasionally try a voice search, and am consistently surprised at how good it's gotten.

    The only times I've ever managed to confuse OK Google is when I used Spanish words.



  • I have 2 echos and 1 echo dot. I use them mostly for alarm, weather, music and giving timeouts to the kids (works surprisingly well), setting cooking timers, controlling the a/c, controlling the lights, asking for measurements when cooking and playing around with app development

    I've used Google Assistant a few times and was frankly surprised when it was able to navigate me home.



  • When I need to remind myself of something, I tell my phone, "Remind me to do ___ at ___", at which point it reads it back to me, and asks if it got it right. It invariably does, so I tell it "Yes", at which point it saves the notification, which I then get on my phone or PC, and both of them show it on the lock screen for the rest of the day.

    Occasionally, I ask it to "Navigate home" - "Drive me Home" used to work, but now lists a Youtube link to a song.

    I may not use Cortana for much, but it's a very useful system when I do.



  • I have used them when using GPS on my phone by tbh they are shit. It is better (and safer) I pull over, especially when they get you near to the destination and Google is telling you to turn right into a "Because it is London we will charge you £100 quid fine if you randomly go into this zone".



  • @lucas1 It is literally "no google I can't turn there otherwise I will get a 30 quid charge to my credit card" ... no thanks.


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