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Apple’s Siri needs to become a ‘bicycle for the mind’

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It’s time for a Siri redesign. I’m not talking about new search domains or new voices, but a fundamental revision of what the Apple voice assistant does and who it is for.

What could be

Apple users need their products to do things. Designers, architects, entrepreneurs, videographers, statisticians, doctors, students, all kinds of creatives and knowledge workers, these people use their devices to get things done. Siri needs to help them with that.

I read all the criticisms made against Siri. Some seem overblown, but not all of them. The one thing that rings true is the notion that Siri attempts to deliver too much for too many people. There’s the home automation Siri, the smart conversation Siri, the alternative UI Siri, the Siri that plays the wrong track and the Siri that never quite understands what you want it to do.

But what about the Siri that helps you get things done? That’s where I think a redesign needs to take place.

What I want

Personally, I want Siri to actively help me get things done. I want that on-device intelligence to help me find and manage research materials, I want it to automate filing, saving, and tagging of items with a few simple training commands. I want it to be able to seek things out over time. I might say, “Hey Siri, I’d like you to find all the articles online containing an original quote by Steve Jobs and present them to me at 5 p.m.”

And when it comes to that presentation, I’d like the assistant to be smart enough to identify the top 10  most repeated Steve Jobs quotes it finds, grab some royalty-free images, gather all of this together in a PDF report, and tweet it out to my followers as a small mark of the huge respect I still feel 10 years since the great man left us.

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