back to article Clap, damn you, clap! Samsung's Bixby 2.0 AI reveal is met with apathy

When Samsung's veep of artificial intelligence strategy, the enigmatic Ji Soo Yi, demonstrated Bixby 2.0 at the chaebol's Galaxy event yesterday, he had to prompt the audience for applause. "You can clap," he urged the attendees after stunned silence met another new feature. This earned instant derision on Twitter, but let's …

  1. James 51 Silver badge
    FAIL

    If I bought a new Samsung I'd stick lineageOS on it just to get rid of Bixby (and the spyware from google). Neither want or need it and it isn't a failure of imagination on my part, it's just I don't want to be the victim of shovelware.

    1. Argh

      One huge problem for the majority of people is that installing LineageOS will replace your great quality phone camera (assuming one of the recent flagships) with a very average quality camera.

      You'll also be losing pretty much any stylus support if you get it, so you'd be throwing your money down the drain if you did it with the Note range.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Hmm had assumed that the camera software would have been part of the build for that specific phone. Might have to settle for plugging as many privacy holes as I can if that's the case.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        "installing LineageOS will replace your great quality phone camera (assuming one of the recent flagships) with a very average quality camera."

        That only matters if you care. I'm willing to bet that a majority of people don't.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        @Argh

        I've been off Samsung stock ROMs for years so I can't really remember the Samsung camera app but the one with Lineage is pretty good and there others out there. I guess your point is that there features in the BLOBs that you might lose but the only feature I think that is really missing on my S5 is the FM radio.

      4. tekHedd

        OpenCamera

        OpenCamera pretty much rocks. You still lose advanced features if you have a really fancy phone though. What's a "stylus support?" ;)

        --running Lineage + MicroG for several months now.

        Summary in a nutshell: Here Wego > Google Maps, but I miss my cloud storage for saves in AlphaBear.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      @James have you decided which one you're going to get? ,-)

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      > If I bought a new Samsung

      Well, the solution is actually a lot simpler: don't buy a Samsung. There are Android phones out there that are better.

    4. J27 Bronze badge

      It's easier just to not buy a Samsung Phone. They're overpriced anyway.

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge

    If I could natively remap the Bixby hardware button to Flashlight, that would be lovely. As it is, I've taken a scalpel to my phone case, slicing off the bump above the Bixby button to make the volume bumps easier to locate by touch.

    Still, it isn't necessary to install Lineage OS to get rid of Bixby.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Who the hell would want an easily accidentally activated external button to control the flashlight? If you need one so often you want a hardware button on the outside of the phone to turn it on, maybe you should carry an actual flashlight with you...

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Honestly, yes, I do want the torch on a button. I use it pretty often because I always have my phone with me, and it's charged.

        I'm sure that other people would rather have something else.

        It seems really likely that fewer than 1% of users want that button to be dedicated to a voice assistant.

        And that fewer than 10% would agree on what the button should do. So make it configurable.

        1. wessel21

          You can buy a hardware button made for the audio socket. Too easy.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The latest industry

    is inventing stuff that nobody ever asked for and nobody wants.

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: The latest industry

      A bit like 3D TVs: annoying, poorly executed, “niche” at best but pushed incredibly aggressively by manufacturers and movie studios. At a premium, of course.

      Those went well, dind’t they?

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: The latest industry

        "A bit like 3D TVs: annoying, poorly executed,"

        Anyone who has made a serious study of 3d vision can tell you - it is not technically possible to achieve 3d reproduction without individual headsets, so multi-user 3d TV or cinema is guaranteed to be poorly executed.

        Basically, for any two-image attempt to stereo reproduction there is only one eye position that works, that which corresponds to the exact position of the taking lenses.

        As this has been known since early Victorian times, 3d TVs were basically a scam from day one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The latest industry

      You mean that shitty concave TV screens that only give an "improved" picture if you're a single viewer sitting in *precisely* the right position relative to the screen and don't move about, look inferior to anyone sitting elsewhere and have huge problems with reflections *weren't* driven by customer demand?

      I'm shocked, *shocked*!

    3. SuccessCase

      Re: The latest industry

      “The latest industry is inventing stuff that nobody ever asked for and nobody wants.”

      Well after thousands of years of study by Zen monks, they have demonstrated answer to the question “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: The latest industry - “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

        That's easy - the sound of the master's hand slapping the novice on the head and him saying "Don't try to be clever with meaningless questions, stupid boy."

        1. Esme

          Re: The latest industry - “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

          Nah, it's the sound of your left hand impacting your bare right shoulder whilst your right hand is holding a glass of wiine and someone's just done or said something worthy of applause, and there isn't anywhere you can put your drink down on handily.

          What? You mean you don't all wear little off the shoulder numbers? !

  4. Crisp Silver badge

    Is received wisdom like perceived wisdom?

    Enquiring minds need to know!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is received wisdom like perceived wisdom?

      In order of factuality, least to most:

      Whoever writes Femail Fashion Finder, The rest of the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, What Trump Tweets, RCL indiegogo updates, Guardian, Any politician, All other newspapers, Anything Millennials say, Anyone calling themselves an 'influencer', Anyone called Amy who spells it as Ami, Anyone with 'expert', 'cloud' or 'architect' in their job title, Anyone called Lisa, Anyone with a double-barrelled surname, Stephen Fry, What Trump Thinks, Received Wisdom, Twitter, Bloggers, Journalists, Perceived wisdom, Hunches, Guesses, Adam from Love Island, Drunken Philosophy, Facts, Facts on Wikipedia, Smiths lyrics, Wes from Love Island, Samira from Love Island, God, Anything in the first 30 Discworld Novels, Jack and Dani.

  5. steelpillow Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

    Researchers accustomed to working in libraries will never, ever use a voice assistant as their primary UI.

    I am sure I am not the only one. For us, the keyboard will remain paramount, as it is faster than any other silent data entry (except maybe for Chinese, where hunt-and-peck character pickers can hold their own).

    1. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

      A subvocal mic might work, or a glove you could use gestures with. Power and reliablity (plus training users to be able use them effectively) would be an issue.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

        There's Chorded Typing - silent, and can be invisible too - can be done in one's pocket if needs be.

        I've not learnt it, but apparently it doesn't take too long to do so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

          "I was, err, just chord typing in my pocket officer."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

            "Is that a chord keypad in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?"

            1. John H Woods Silver badge

              Re: "Is that a chord keypad in your pocket"

              May I commend to the commentard community, a word I only recently learned?

              My brother had referred to a "sacofricotic colleague" and my subsequent enquiry taught me the definition of sacofricosis

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: "Because speaking a trivial command out loud is still too intrusive"

      Not to mention that voice is a terribly inefficient way to do that sort of thing. It's really only better than typing for trivial sorts of operations.

  6. K Silver badge

    Their personal assistant AIs will always be smarter than anyone else's...

    Yet they're still as bright as a dull light bulb!

    1. DJV Silver badge

      ...that''s been disconnected from the mains...

  7. Spanners Silver badge
    Flame

    "Do not want" is not strong enough.

    Identifying this as something I do not care about would be innacurate.

    I really consider this something that not having would be far superior to having.

    For comparison, some phones have an FM radio. Some people want and use it. I have had it on phones in the past bur other than trying it out I didn't use it. It's presence is not a sale point to me but I would not consider it a negative. I would consider Bixby as something that will weigh against my purchasing something.

    Bixby is the latest example of what I have heard called "crudware". Software that does not do anything new, unexpected or even better than what is already available but can mess with it. The worst example I can think of is the Samsung calendar. I add an appointment on my phone and it does not show up in my Google Calendar so I am not reminded of it.

    I think the first example I came across was the "hubs" on my GS2 long ago. For example, they gave me the opportunity to jumble up my Gmail, text messages, instant messages and so on. Instead of having reminders that I had 4 emails, an IM anf a text, it would just say I had 6 messages. That doesn't seem to be there any more. They just need to get rid of the other alternative functionality and I might consider Samsungs' excellent kit again.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

      You can always tell when a software feature is for the benefit of the vendor, not the user - it will be difficult-to-impossible to remove/disable it.

      Bixby’s a prime example, but also: apple pay, cortana, apple Music, the windows Store, animated emoji crap on just about every modern platform, iOS/Windows updates... I’m sure you can think of others.

      Yes, I’m aware that some of those can in theory be disabled, but they have a habit of popping back every so often (after every update in the case of Windows 10, and about every 10th time I try to play a local MP3 file in the case of Apple Music).

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

        I use Apple Pay a lot but not Apple Music. It’s easy enough to disable and make go away?

    2. td97402

      Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

      Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones. They want to build the whole ecosystem and be just like Apple. Music store, App store, brwoser, calendarr, etc. I think they still are thinking about having their own OS as well. Yesterday‘s announcement also featured the new Galaxy watch which runs Tizen OS.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

        "Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones. "

        It's just as well because there is no such thing, it depends on your criteria. Which is after all why Android has its benefits - there are currently four types of iPhone, or rather two types with one having different sizes. There is perhaps too much choice in the Android world - but it exists. As with Apple - want a small high spec Samsung? Forget it. Samsung high res LCD? Ditto. Robust version? Apparently US only.

        Perhaps trying to be like Apple explains why the likes of Huawei are snapping at their heels.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

          Huawei are snapping at their heels because the native brands are taking over China. Samsung used to have really good market share there, but they've been losing out to their Android rivals. Sure, sales of the S9 are down from previous Galaxy models, but it isn't like other Android OEMs have been selling more flagships to pick up the slack. There are just fewer higher priced Android phones getting sold because lower priced ones are a lot closer than they were a few years ago.

          If you buy Android today, you get very little extra paying $1000 versus paying $300-$400. At least with Apple, the difference between the SE and the X is pretty obvious so they don't have to worry about cannibalizing their own high end too much - but more importantly as far as Apple is concerned, if you want an iPhone/iOS you have only one source so they don't have to worry about competition nearly as much as Samsung does.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

            I really consider this something that not having would be far superior to having.

            The only thing I would really want would be a SDK with a flat learning curve so that I can compose my own ultra-simple mobile interface and leave out all the crud and weird asynchronous Google event shit.

      2. GIRZiM Bronze badge

        Re: Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones

        I've no experience of Samsungs myself, having always stuck to Sony or, latterly, Motorola, but, every time I investigate apps on the Play store, seven out of ten of the people complaining that they do not work (or have been 'broken' by the latest update) invariably have Samsung phones (and I do mean invariably).

        Everyone I know who has ever had a Samsung has subsequently sworn that they will never get another as long as they live because there is always something that doesn't work properly/doesn't play well with others - be it an app, a much desired feature of an app or whatever.

        On that basis I have to question whether they do make the best phones: best engineering, best components, best individual features all count for nothing if the overall experience is poor; an operationally poor device is a bad device, irrespective of how it looks on paper - overengineered is not good.

        So, as I may be in the market for a new phone soon, never having tried a Samsung before, what can owners tell me about the RL experience of using them, rather than what the specs say I ought to be excited by?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones

          The reason for large numbers of complaints is really extremely large numbers of users.

          If 0.1% of users have a problem and you sell 1,000,000 then thats 1,000 complaints.

          If 10% of users have a problem but you only sell 50, that's just 5 complaints.

          Also, most people only review an app in the iOS and Play stores when they have a problem.

          1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

            Re: Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones

            Good point.

            So, Samsung make the most popular phones - 70% of the market?

            As I said,I've no idea about them myself so that's a genuine question - I'm not into the whole branding thing; I'm not more special because I drive a certain car, use a certain make of laptop or possess a certain brand of phone and just don't pay attention except when the time comes to purchase a decent one of any of them - and even then I'm interested in the models available, not the brands.

            Gotta disagree with you about the App/Play Store thing though. I can't remember about the App Store (it's been so long since I've been there) but on the Play Store at least the annoying thing is all the high (5 star) ratings with no explanation for them that I have to wade through to find a recent negative one that will give me some insight into how well the app really performs. Maybe that's a function of the kind of app I use (I imagine I'd see a lot more complaints about games not working than about an SQLite database that doesn't allow sorting on multiple fields simultaneously) but it's true nevertheless - the only kind of complaint see more frequently than any other is from those whining that they have to pay in order to get full functionality.

        2. MarkElmes

          Re: Samsung has not been satisfied with making the best Android phones

          I wouldn't buy another Samsung - their version of Android is aweful.

          Just picked up a Pixel 2 XL which has the same specs as the Galaxy s8+ I had, and it's like night and day - the samsung constantly lags and has lots of stutter, the pixel, restored from the same backup, is as smooth as butter.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Do not want" is not strong enough.

      They just need to get rid of the other alternative functionality and I might consider Samsungs' excellent kit again.

      The problem is that hardware makers live on very thin margins. They covet the high margins reported by software makers, and think they can get themselves a piece of that with with crappy, me-too software offerings. They then delude themselves with the idea that their latest flagship raked in a high price because of all the crudware they'd excreted on to it.

      It's pretty clear that sometimes a software maker can specify decent hardware, but manufacture is invariably by OEMs. For the houses like Samsung, they need to wake up realise that their software adds no value, costs a lot to produce and maintain and go back to hardware innovation and manufacture.

      I struggle to think of a hardware maker that does even competent software, and I likewise can't identify a software maker that can do manufacturing. Even when you get down to software that only hardware makers can create like drivers, or embedded code like SCADA, these really aren't areas where you expect to find quality, are they.

      Software and hardware, 'ey be loik beast n'dairy. Yer can do beast, yer can do dairy, but beast n'dairy 'ey don't never mix.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I already hate smartphones, this Bixby isn't going to make it better

    I long for the day where I can ditch the nuisance that is a smartphone and go back to a simple feature phone.

    Having a phone that will actively be able to nag not only on screen but also in my ear is absolutely not what I'm interested in. Keep your nannying away from me, I'm man enough to assume my mistakes.

    1. Philippe

      Re: I already hate smartphones, this Bixby isn't going to make it better

      Nokia 8110 is your friend.

    2. td97402

      Re: I already hate smartphones, this Bixby isn't going to make it better

      Feature phones never went away. They just aren’t featured at the your local shop. I hear Nokia is making them again.

      1. matjaggard

        Re: I already hate smartphones, this Bixby isn't going to make it better

        Just buy a feature phone and stop calling your grandchildren for help with getting your emails to work.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @ matjaggard

          So you think anyone that hates smartphones has to be an old doddard ?

          My retirement is still 13 years away. I have no grandchildren yet, and my entire family calls on me whenever they have a computer issue because I've been an IT professional for the past 30 years.

          I know feature phones exist (for Philippe and td97402), but when you are a consultant, they are not enough, unfortunately. So I have to have a damn smartphone, and I hate that.

          But I'm glad I gave you an opportunity to spew your contempt for old people. Feeling better ?

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: @ matjaggard

            "But I'm glad I gave you an opportunity to spew your contempt for old people. Feeling better ?"

            To be fair it's old people like me that are responsible for the current mess.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ matjaggard

              To be fair it's old people like me that are responsible for the current mess.

              Are you taking a share of that responsibility, or referring to other old people?

              It's just that I'm thinking that those who make a mess should clear it up as a form of restorative justice.

              1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: @ matjaggard

                "Are you taking a share of that responsibility, or referring to other old people?"

                I voted Remain, I would still vote Remain, interpret that how you will.

                1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                  Re: @ matjaggard

                  Interesting that some Brexiters are so moronic that they have to downvote a post that merely states an opinion.

  9. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Maybe Jeb! should be the voice of the assistant?

    Please clap.

  10. rdhood

    Samsung cant understand plain English...

    Seriously, Samung's AI and Voice to text is SO BAD, that I had to shut it all down. It can not figure out what I am saying.... always contains loads of errors. ALWAYS. It is years behind Google and Amazon...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung would get a standing ovation

    if it gave us what we reallly want.

    Option for an untouched "vanilla" Android or Lineage

    Easily removable/replaceable battery

    SD card that can be partitioned the way it used to be before DRM

    Headphone jack

    Fully functional Appops that worked on "system" apps as well

    Option to disable INTERNET permissions on a per-app basis

    etc,etc

    (I can dream can't I?)

    1. Kaltern

      Re: Samsung would get a standing ovation

      But then they would have innumerable competition from everyone else who realises that is all people really want.. and then they'd no longer be classed as 'special'.

      That is the only reason we're getting all this pointless crap - in order to have something to say 'we're better than everyone at this (oh just ignore the huge amount of data mining, that's not your concern - just click OK, you won't feel a thing...)

      Imagine how they'd sell the next Galaxy? "Yes, our phone has no extra features, Google is optional and ... it even has a removable battery.." And next year? "Yes, our new phone has a lower resolution screen.. to save battery power.. well we can't afford a bigger one because we had no data to sell...."

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Samsung would get a standing ovation

        "Yes, our phone has no extra features, Google is optional and ... it even has a removable battery.."

        Being able to dispense with Google and having a removable battery certainly count as extra features these days.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Who's this "us" you're talking about?

      Oh, you mean the 2% of people who are techies and read sites like the Register or Anandtech or whatever and are the only ones asking for those features. Sorry, but the average consumer does not care about "vanilla Android" or partitioning an SD card, or a replaceable battery. If they did, someone would be selling phones like that and cleaning up.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Who's this "us" you're talking about?

        I'm always amused by the counterargument that "the average consumer does not care" about some issue (even when I myself made that argument in another comment in this story!). First, that's often not clear. But, more importantly, so what? When people are expressing their own personal likes, dislikes, and desires, whether or not they are in line with what "the average consumer" cares about is irrelevant.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Who's this "us" you're talking about?

          Yes, it is clear. You don't think companies playing in billion dollar markets do market research? There are many Android OEMs, and they are all competing for the same customers. If there was a way for them to tap into a huge new market by offering a different product, they would!

          It is the same way you know there is not a huge demand for pink cars, because very few carmakers offer any models in pink. If that became a thing, you'd see major brands begin offering cars in pink.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who's this "us" you're talking about?

            You don't think companies playing in billion dollar markets do market research?

            Yes, we know they do. But explain the notch, then.

            I'll wager no market research anywhere, ever had people say, "yeah, it'd be great if there were this weird notch at the top of the screen". Well, until Apple did it, and a range of Android OEM's had market research that said "I'd like a phone that looked like an iPhone X for a tenth of the cost".

            Which both supports and undermines the claim that manufacturers deliver what the market wants.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Who's this "us" you're talking about?

              Apple did the notch because it was necessary - they have a bunch of stuff that needs to be on the front face of the phone, so they can either have a big bezel on top with wasted space on either side, or they can put some screen so the space isn't wasted.

              Other phone makers have similar issues, even if they don't have as much hardware up there as Apple does they still have some stuff that has to be on the front of the phone. People have been talking about "big ugly bezels" for years and lusting after concept designs that were all screen. Well too bad, all screen designs just aren't possible today, so the notch is as close as you can come. Maybe some of them were aping Apple, but some of them simply reached the same answer to the same problem that Apple did.

              Some Android phones with a notch let you disable it, which gives you the big bezel you apparently would prefer to have instead of the notch. So I don't see why you would complain, when you can have what you want with a simple configuration change!

    3. tea junkie

      Re: Samsung would get a standing ovation

      Theres a reason I'm still running 4.4.2 kitkat, rooted with crapware removed or disabled. Partioned SD card and a phone with optical zoom.

      If samsung (or anyone) made a phone with optical zoom I'd buy it. But no one wants to do it a price that isnt more than a months rent.

      Any suggestions for SD card brands? ive never managed to get brands other than Sandisk or Samsung to partition succesfully and not die in a week.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its full name must be Bixby Snyder, because I'd buy that for a dollar- but not a cent more.

  13. Flakk Silver badge

    Non Sequitur Response Option Needed

    I was mildly impressed by the image recognition feature and the offering of a number of suggested responses to the dog photo. The only thing it's missing is a non sequitur response option:

    "Miley Cyrus, how many times have we asked you to keep your tongue in your mouth?"

  14. asdf Silver badge

    you can clap now

    He didn't ask with a please like Jeb Bush did.

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    What Google wants…

    One example: canned replies to text messages from loved ones. No thanks, Google, you're being weird, creepy and intrusive.

    Interesting, I've come to understand Google's suggestions in Allo as a bit like CAPTCH's: they're training some new machines on people's responses. I think this is much more likely to be part of customer service automation than really trying to second guess the user, because that's the kind of service that Google sells to businesses and it's the same kind of indirection.

    The GIF suggestions are more directly aimed at the consumer: want to send cute kitten pictures? Just press GIF, type kitten and send. We definitely don't need this kind of shit, but it can still be fun!

    1. matjaggard

      Re: What Google wants…

      I quite like the suggestions in Inbox. Unfortunately it crashes when reading certain emails so it's swings and roundabouts.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wrong quote

    I mis-read the source of the paraphrased quote. I was expecting to see "Get your mother#&%($# AI of my mother#&%($# phone!"

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: wrong quote

      The only thing appropriate as you drive up to FaceAppTweetOggle ControlPlex: "We should have shotguns for this kind of deal".

  17. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Not AI if it can't learn to go away

    My first two days with a new Samsung was an infuriating experience of dismissing shovelwear pop-ups. The phone literally couldn't be used because it would pop up advertisements for Samsung Cloud or start an app experience walk-through. None of it could be turned off by normal means. I would have returned the phone the next day if I hadn't found an app to disable it all. Count me in the "not impressed" group when there's a newer and more intrusive Bixby

  18. tekHedd

    Where's MY AI?

    We talk a lot about "creepy and invasive", but the only thing that's really wrong with Google's AI is that it's not *my* AI. When I think back to AI assistants in the various Sci Fi books I've read, AI agents never seemed creepy because in books the agent is 100% owned by and working for the protagonist. It's the difference between "I am here to support you in any way you want and only those ways", and "I'm not going to hurt you, no really I promise, but not in a binding way and also sign this agreement indemnifying me before you let me help..."

    There's a world of difference between "don't be evil" and "be good".

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Where's MY AI?

      One meellion upvotes.

      As a corollary, I would love to see a film where the hero is constantly telling his AI sidekick that no, he doesn't want to go to a restaurant and does not want to order a fucking book from Amazon.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Where's MY AI?

        Google still frequently misreads my email and frightens me by popping up notifications for train journeys on the wrong dates.

        Even when it has notified you of a train journey and must "know" you are on a train, and where you are getting off, it does stupid stuff like asking you if you want to check in at the Mailbox when you're sitting on the train at Birmingham New Street.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Where's MY AI?

        "As a corollary, I would love to see a film where the hero is constantly telling his AI sidekick that no, he doesn't want to go to a restaurant and does not want to order a fucking book from Amazon."

        The live-action version of Transformers gets close; while under attack, one soldier tries to call the Pentagon for an air strike because the radio is out. He then has to listen to a sales pitch from an Indian call centre.

    2. NightFox

      Re: Where's MY AI?

      "When I think back to AI assistants in the various Sci Fi books I've read, AI agents never seemed creepy because in books the agent is 100% owned by and working for the protagonist."

      HAL 9000?

  19. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Bixby 2 = Son Of Siri 1

    'Viv' was the name of what is now Bixby 2:

    https://www.crunchbase.com/person/dag-kittlaus#section-overview

    Samsung had to, as usual, copy Apple and buy Dag Kitlaus' follow-up to Siri, Viv. The difference I notice is the feature set of Siri that Apple foolishly tossed out of Siri, integration into a variety of third party data sources. Darn Apple! But that's about it.

    No surprise that the Samsung demo followed up with a blatant ripoff of Apple's HomePod, right down to the internal design.

    People, let's not buy ripoff tech please. It's feeding a devouring beast that creates nothing. It's not rewarding invention or innovation, the actual sources of our current technology and better technology in the future.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Bixby 2 = Son Of Siri 1

      "It's not rewarding invention or innovation, the actual sources of our current technology and better technology in the future."

      Xerox?

  20. Konk

    Missed opportunity

    I hit the Note 8 Bixby button accidentally several times a day and have to close the registration/login screen manually. They have to add an option to disable the button (without creating an account!) or map it to something else.

  21. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Pie is sweet

    I haven't tried the Samsung and probably will not - I prefer the bog-standard Android without the vendors little added email/browser/data collection apps added. Yes - I know Google has its tentacles in the Android but I know where they are and can live with them without having the phone vendor continually trying to up-sell me with more crap. The new Pie release has its AI component and so far it seem to work well for my convenience.

    It's just a handheld computer that occasionally receives junk phone calls as far as I'm concerned.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Until AI can parse natural language statements like "Make a new photo album from all the photos I took of lizards while in Australia last year" it'll be useless to me. That's not a particularly hard sentence to parse... a location filter, a time filter, a content filter, a single action to create a new album, a response of 'Ok, I found 25 photos and created an album called Lizards In Australia Last Year". All of this should be pretty trivial now, if only someone would tie it all together :V

    Pssst. Lizards are awesome.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > "Make a new photo album from all the photos I took of lizards while in Australia last year"

      Where is the profit in that?... Those lizards won't pay to be on top of the list, so it would be a total waste of money to implement such a thing.

      Apparently you misunderstood the point of personal assistants: They exist to make profits, not to make the world a happy place.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Until AI can parse natural language statements like "Make a new photo album from all the photos I took of lizards while in Australia last year"

      You sure those aren't crocodiles? It sure makes a big difference in AI parsing and your photo shooting while running skill.

  23. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921
    FAIL

    Bixby > Bill Bixby > The Incredible Hulk = Not a good personal assistant meme

  24. scrubber
    Terminator

    AI canned responses

    Soon I will be able to take a picture of a dog, my AI will send that picture to my contact list automatically, each of those contacts' AIs will auto-respond with something endearing or pithy and my AI will send a warm and fuzzy vibration to my handset. Who even needs humans anymore?

  25. steviebuk Silver badge

    Forcing....

    ...apps on people is a sure fire way of getting people to not use them. I've disabled the Bixby button on my S8.

  26. Lee D Silver badge

    "These are things that standard probabilistic analysis, plus a little location information, ought to be able to help with. No AI magic required."

    Yeah, you know why? Because that's all the "AI" we use actually is. We don't have AI, we have trained statistical engines, that's it.

    Google and Facebook's data streams don't mean a lot even with every morsel of information - it's almost impossible to sort the chaff from the noise without understanding of context and no "AI" has that.

    The reason Samsung can't "compete"... it's because that's all there is. There's really not much else to it. Sure, Google seeing an email that looks like a flight ticket is handy. But that's as far as it goes - recognise flight tickets - add to calendar... erm... what else? Maybe start suggesting holiday gear? That's about all you can do.

    We do NOT have AI of any kind. We have statistics and various ways to "train" computer to apply those statistics, which basically boil down to "keep trying to jam these statistics into a correlation against something useful by brute force", which usually ends in a "good enough" approach that'll never get better, and nothing we couldn't do with explicit coding.

    Until we start getting machines that actually understand, and can infer context, not just rely blindily on probabilities based on previous data, we'll never have AI.

    Literally... since the "AI revolution" of the last, what? Decade or so? What's changed? Siri really does nothing we couldn't do with some statistical analysis, even 20, 30 years ago. The only thing was that we didn't have the capability in the portable devices to do so. But it doesn't actually break any ground. Nor does any of the other stuff.

    The irony is, we'll all walking around with chess grandmasters in our pocket, but they still can't tell whether an email is spam or not, or - in my case - do anything even approaching non-trivial voice recognition.

    It's the wrong kind of machine, the wrong kind of approach, the wrong kind of the problem for the approach we use, and the wrong kind of hype.

    Honestly, in a way, I'd be glad to not having Samsung throw tons of money at AI and just produce a nicer phone. Even if every line of code was written by a human.

  27. Ian Joyner

    AI - ugh

    Remember the three views of computing "Computers are to control people" IBM and then Microsoft. "Computers are meant as tools for people to augment their intellect" Doug Englebart, then Silicon Valley, Xerox PARC, and Apple.

    "AI will replace human intellect" John McCarthy (LISP) and AI researchers.

    Well, I'm sick of AI 'helpers' coming up and telling me what they think I might have wanted. You can see this in the way Google and Facebook do things. They are based on the push paradigm. Sometimes, yes you want to be notified of something, but more often than not, stop the advertising. Marketing people think it is doing their job to pester you, from putting waste paper in your mailbox to popping up all the time telling you what they think should be useful.

    We need an electronic "No Junk Mail" which says NO AI!!!!!!

    People need to take control again. Let the systems know "No, I'll tell YOU when I want something".

  28. Ian Joyner

    Downgrade to Oreo?

    So the author wants to downgrade to Oreo from Pie. That says a lot about where Android is going. Releases are named after junk food, and Oreo must be the most tasteless cardboard of a biscuit, just appealing to children's taste for sugar, knowing no better. Seems to sum up Android.

  29. Esme

    Uh, voice recognition is HOW good?

    One of my netfriends in the US has no option but to use her phone for internet access as her only way of accessing the internet due to where she lives. And it would appear that she finds using voice recognition to be easier than using screen keyboards when in chat. A fair bit of the time it works reasonably well, but a feature of almost every chat session is the "guess what she ACTUALLY said" game.

    Now, the recognition software often mangling user handles when she says them is to be expected, but when the conversation veers away from chat about mundane events which, aside from occasionally tripping up on the names of more obscure food items, it handles well, when the chat topic gets more boisterous/naughty the results are rather worse and occasionally hilarious (not to mention blushworthy for my friend).

    Which, sympathy for my friend aside, I am actually quite pleased about. I'm not sure I'd feel comfy with a machine "understanding" humans to that level of intimacy, whether it be actual AI or just statistical analysis behind its parsing of what's being said (Uh - it understood that I meant THAT rather than the similar-sounding other? (shudder)). But then, I'm by inclination a smartphone refusenik that uses secondhand Blackbrerrys for their keyboards and is getting to hate them more as time goes by and I have to buy newer ones, due to the sheer crap that one can't get rid of thats on them. Their range really is getting less usable over time. I shudder to think how bad the most recent Blackberries must be, I can only hope that eventually some phone manufacturer will realise that quite a few folk want a non-"smart" phone with a proper keyboard for text entry.

  30. imanidiot Silver badge

    No thanks

    One of the reasons I bought a cheap "off-brand" made-in-china mid-range phone instead of one of the high end phones is exactly because it lacks all of this crap. I don't WANT to talk to my phone apart from using it to talk through the phone to another human being. I don't WANT my phone to understand me since there is no need for it to. I can use my own brain.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Samsung S8 user here...

    Prior to my Samsung, I had a Motorola with CyanogenMod on it (and an initial LineageOS after the other project folded).

    I like the Samsung device but disabled Bixby button.

    They need to listen to their customers- we don't want Bixby - we want Google Assistant on the phone - activated by that side button - but then Samsung went and disabled the interrupt to be able to pick up the key press

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