back to article Apple slapped with second Siri senility lawsuit

Apple has been slapped with a second class-action lawsuit alleging that its ads for the iPhone 4S's Siri voice-activated search feature constitute false advertising. "Through its nationwide multimedia marketing campaign, Apple disseminates false and deceptive representations regarding the functionality of the Siri Feature," …

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Unhappy

Siri's lack of context is annoying

Here is why I don't like Siri: no context. Everything works great if you get it right in the first go, but if you mess up you have to start the whole dumb command over. "She" appears to have the memory capacity of a gnat as evidenced by the following exchange (paraphrased):

Me: Siri, create a new meeting with Bill tomorrow at 4PM.

Siri: Here's your new meeting: [Meeting, Bill, 4PM tomorrow] OK?

Me: Wait, change that to 3PM.

Siri: Sorry, I don't understand "Wait, change that to 3PM."

Me: *sigh*

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Anonymous Coward

i am amazed

That anyone really believed the hype surrounding Siri, I'm even more amazed that people bought into so easily, I'm even more astounded that they think it is a reason to sue over, and I am flabbergasted a law firm has taken it on.

Thank god for our education system here in the UK, something that appears to be lacking in the US where maybe they need lessons on common sense.

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Unhappy

Re: i am amazed

"Thank god for our education system here in the UK, something that appears to be lacking in the US where maybe they need lessons on common sense."

Seen the queues at the petrol stations?

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Re: Siri's lack of context is annoying

To be fair, natural language processing is a tough nut to crack on the best of circumstances, and asking a computer to figure out the referent to "that" in that kind of situation requires much more cognitive nimbleness than you might think. Computers are still pretty primitive beasts, and natural language processing on computers is still pretty dicey.

I don't use Siri or any of its competitors; I don't really think that computers are at the point yet where they can be expected to process language with the agility that people want them to.

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Anonymous Coward

" Seen the queues at the petrol stations"

, look what happened when Orson Wells put out War of the Worlds. Now that was proper panic....

Still you get an up vote from me, because petrol queuers are an embarrassment to us all.

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Re: i am amazed

People believe because the ads told them so. I'm neither here nor there with Apple or Siri but if you advertise something amazing as doing something incredible and it turns out it doesn't do that something incredible properly then consumers have a right to be pissed off, or in the case of the USA, sue somebody.

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Happy

"Petrol queuers"

Is that what "mouth breathers" are called now?

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Re: i am amazed

Anyone who takes any advert at face value in this day and age needs their head examining. Or they should come see me. I have some excellent deals on London Bridges for them :)

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Re: common sense

It may be Britain's most valuable resource, but it is becoming increasingly hard to extract.

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Meh

War of the Worlds

"look what happened when Orson Wells put out War of the Worlds"

What, very little?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15470903

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Re: i am amazed

"Thank god for our education system here in the UK, something that appears to be lacking in the US where maybe they need lessons on common sense."

Well, my kids primary school (age 5-11) is now "An Apple School" and they want all the parents to buy their kids iPads.

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Re: i am amazed

"!Anyone who takes any advert at face value in this day and age needs their head examining."

Perhaps, but equally any rich company making claims in an advert that can plausibly be shown to be misleading needs their marketers' / lawyers' heads examining.

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WTF?

Re: i am amazed: AN APPLE SCHOOL

AN APPLE SCHOOL??

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Silver badge

I don't think that's entirely fair on some of the petrol queuers - once the panic starts it does make a certain perverse sense to join in if you do need some petrol (obviously those with low tanks, not nutters trying to fill jerry cans). you can be part of the problem, or you can walk round town until the supply chain catches up to the accelerated demand. It's a bit like a run on a bank - if everyone's taking out their cash, taking the moral high ground does you f all good if you can't get money out later.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i am amazed: AN APPLE SCHOOL

Having seen a lot of the underfunded, badly implemented, badly maintained, crap that passes for IT in schools, I can believe some might look for alternatives. Unless they're getting a seriously BIG discount though, I can't see a move off of Windows (where the majority of the ICT software stack lives) being a clever one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i am amazed

Bringing the teacher an apple has taken a whole different meaning these days, hasn't it?

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Headmaster

Re: i am amazed

How about thanking the lawmakers and watchdogs that stop Apple falsely advertising over here? :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: i am amazed

Change school.

No school should be allowed to force parents to provide a fragile £500 device for a child just to provide education.

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Re: i am amazed

"Anyone who takes any advert at face value in this day and age needs their head examining. Or they should come see me. I have some excellent deals on London Bridges for them :)"

I don't generally bother with people who can't speak English, but...

Any advert that cannot be taken at face value is illegal and grounds for a lawsuit.

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Bronze badge

Re: Siri's lack of context is annoying

Talk in monotone like a computer. Remove extraneous words. Enunciate clearly. Speak with an even pace.

That is the nimbleness that a lot of users lack. People jacked up on coffee and dragged down on doziness won't help. Especially long or gnarly accents. (In ~93, I figured that out when dealing with the then-newfangled auto attendants and voicemail/auto response systems. The best fun was dealing with the one that only took button presses, but said "Oh" instead of "zero"; "There IS NO extension: two-three-six nine-five-five seheven-three-ohh-two ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh" Til the company president snapped for me to knock that off and to turn down the speaker volume, heheheh....)

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Pint

Dear Woz ...

... Back in 1976 I bought your new Apple ][. The "Red Book" code had some penciled in changes. I assume you put them there. I know you are thinking ... he never writes, he never calls ... ok sorry, let me make amends.

Siri works wonderfully for me, but I had to teach her to say "do you want fries with that?" at the end of every session. I suggest Apple do the same (no I didn't patent the patch).

Here's the thing: Siri is a "personal assistant", but that is still a social position far below the most overworked, underpaid, and need I say, under appreciated waitress. Apple knows well that slaves are Chinese, you own a bunch of them, but when you suggest that Siri is worth anywhere close to that waitress she'll spit in your soup, rich guy, you can count on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry

I don't speak drivel...

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So is the complete uselessness of Siri its only selling point because everything else they've said about the thing is absolutely and completely false, and given all the lawsuits most people think the same.

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Anonymous Coward

LOL, yeah sure, enjoy that world you live in. 53 million customers and some skank lawyer thinks he will win a lawsuit over a beta product being a beta product.

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I have a car for sale, has a self drive function, first of it's kind. You just tell it where to go and sit back and go to sleep.

If Honda ran this ad with a link to a website that contained a link to a page explaining where to find the basement with no stairs and a locked cupboard with a filing cabinet containing a piece of paper where the statement "the auto drive thing is a Beta product" on, they would (and rightly so) be sued into chapter 11.

The Ads I have seen with Siri in, show it as being a unique selling point. Unique selling points should really live up to expectation.

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ROLFMAO

I reckon some 'skank' lawyer has a fair chance of winning a law-suit over a beta product being sold as a USP, if those adverts are misleading. Beta, or otherwise, false advertising is false advertising. Apple put so much spin on their products that it was bound to come to this sooner or later. They might get away with it this time, but even if they do, they won't learn, and they'll get caught out eventually. How much the lesson costs them in the end is another matter. I would imagine the only winners will be lawyers.

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Yawn

Can't we just have an Apple section or even better an Apple lawsuit section.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

Who else has got it?

The whole point in having an Apple is having something others do not have. Obviously the excludes the millions of other individualists/

So whilst Sire might be useless and Retina could makes for squinting hey no one else is going to copy it. Well for our sake, let's hope not.

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Re: Who else has got it?

Actually there are several Siri clones on Android. I haven't used any of them so I can't say whether they work any better or not, but they do exist.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who else has got it?

Oops, too late for your wish. Google already started their photocopiers on that one:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/16/google_siri_will_be_called_majel/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who else has got it?

Yeah, I guess you are right, that must explain it, all those 10 of millions must be deluded for not agreeing with some arse-wipes opinion that Apple can't produce an objectively good product ever. I just wonder what level of Dickery we will descend to in the comments before the idiots become embarrassed.

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Re: Who else has got it?

"So whilst Sire might be useless and Retina could makes for squinting hey no one else is going to copy it. Well for our sake, let's hope not."

You know that the "Retina" displays are designed and manufactured by Samsung, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Encroaching Senility

The comments at the end of the story that Siri used to be capable of listing prime numbers over 87, but now just gives you places to find prime rib, make me wonder if it was designed to be "learning" from usage data.

Since the majority of people are astoundingly, mindbogglingly stupid, it should be no surprise that Siri is now beginning to reflect the minds of its users.

They should have only let it get training data from their own employees. Soon Siri will be automatically ordering cases of Pabst and initiating sports streaming video.

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Re: Encroaching Senility

It's the constant stress and the unreasonable mental workload. It's Siri that should be suing Apple.

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They did this in Star Trek

There are infinitely many prime numbers greater than 87. Each time Steve Wozniak asks Siri for them, it starts another everlasting process to work them out. Soon this will be the only thing that Siri is doing.

In Star Trek somebody finally invented a computer, unfortunately an evil one, that could recognise a stupid question and ignore it.

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Gimp

Re: They did this in Star Trek

Siri is that evil computer. She's recognized that Woz's question is stupid, checked his chubbiness, reviewed his tastes in restaurants via his credit card history, and therefore suggested he might be happier tucking into a steak.

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Happy

Re: They did this in Star Trek

"There are infinitely many prime numbers greater than 87. Each time Steve Wozniak asks Siri for them, it starts another everlasting process to work them out. Soon this will be the only thing that Siri is doing."

Like Ediie The Computer making tea for Arthur Dent?

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And do you know -why- I want a cup of tea?

As far as I remember - radio version, anyway - Arthur Dent locked up the Nutrimatic Drink Machine, and then the spaceship's main computer, by asking the drink machine a rhetorical question - "do you know -why- I want a cup of tea" - causing it to go nuts trying to calculate the answer.

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Trollface

Re: Encroaching Senility

Let me correct your reverse logic

"Since the majority of 'Siri users' are astoundingly, mindbogglingly stupid"

(Yes - I am going for a personal best)

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Devil

Damn those misleading false misrepresentations!

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Gold badge

Suit has merit & "that" is a solved problem

"That anyone really believed the hype surrounding Siri, I'm even more amazed that people bought into so easily, I'm even more astounded that they think it is a reason to sue over, and I am flabbergasted a law firm has taken it on."

Apple fanbois believe anything they are told.

As for being astounded, why? False advertising is illegal, so if Apple is misrepresenting the functionality of their product in an ad, then people have a case to sue over it. Scientific and R&D advancements bring new products onto the market all the time, it's not up to the customer to know "Oh, well, language processing hasn't advanced that far yet." It's up to the advertiser to not claim the product does things it can't do. Not saying they should win, or whatever, but certainly there's cause to potentially sue.

"To be fair, natural language processing is a tough nut to crack on the best of circumstances, and asking a computer to figure out the referent to "that" in that kind of situation requires much more cognitive nimbleness than you might think. "

Infocom had that problem licked by the late 1970s for the common case. See Zork and almost every interactive fiction ever made. It's not tricky at all to look back 1 item in a conversation, to understand "Schedule foobar at 4PM..... Make that 3PM." means you want to schedule foobar at 3PM.

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Pint

If people are getting angry...

..because their phone doesn't understand them - they need professional help.

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Angel

Dear Jones

you're holding it wrong

sent from my e71

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FAIL

Lucky Mongolians, Nepalese, Urdu and Swahili people ...

they avoid the frustration as Siri doesn't speak their languages.

I am surprised no one has complained about their horrendous data bills OR the lack of capacity to handle Siri communications.

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Facepalm

You draw the line at Siri?

You paid for a Porsche, got an old model VW Bug, and you are complaining that the seats don't lean back as far as promised. You should be grateful that you have been given the great honor of being in the same room as an iPhone. What is wrong with you?

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Siri can do any of the following things for me:

Open the weather app and show the location I ask for (about 50% of the time)

Tell me the time in other time zones (about 40% of the time)

Tell me what the time is 'here' (about 10% of the time, it uses the GPS to figure out where 'here' is and keeps getting it off by about 20 miles then telling me it doesn't know the time in *address across town*

Do a google search (roughly 70% accuracy)

Play songs or albums from my library (pretty good 90% accuracy but then there is a set word list there)

When I see the advert that shows people checking their email and messages or asking where their brother is (presumably he had to check into the place first?) it makes me angry that they can blatantly lie about it's capabilities like that and get away with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Two timing

Soon we'll see furtive looking fanbois in seedy bars, booking cheap hotel rooms and having illicit liaisons with Android phones telling them 'She doesn't understand me'...

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FAIL

Siri is beta?

From all the guff surrounding it I thought it was a finished V1.0, just the 'beta' thing alone is misleading, surely, given the hype that emanated from Cupertino's marketing strike clones.

Never mind the fact that it doesn't actually do what is claimed to the standard that is claimed/implied.

"There is no SiriGate". OK, we'll pay out. History repeating ?

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