Shortcuts criticism -- deserved?

Gabe Weatherhead discussed Siri Shortcuts on his blog](

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I thought that post was uncharacteristically whiny, and just ignored it on the assumption he was having a bad day.

Gabe has a valid point here.

There’s no reason that a voice command should stop working all of a sudden. Especially if people really really on Siri for things like that (my wife always seems to forget the existence of things like Control Center, and uses Siri to change our lights; but I’m actually thinking more along the accessibility line), it’s just not cool if Siri decides your command is no longer “valid”.

Now on the one hand I do really like Shortcuts, but on the other hand I think there are many (valid) criticisms against it. Nothing wrong with that.

He’s right that unpredictability is fatal to voice interaction. People still feel awkward enough using voice systems, especially the “normals” v. us techies, that when the interaction goes awry, the likelihood of not trying again goes way up. Frankly, when it comes to Siri, I rarely use voice commands because I can usually get it done quicker and–most importantly-- more reliably by gestures.

Alexa isn’t perfect in this regard, but is much better. I have one lamp in my office that’s on an iDevices plug and I can’t get Alexa to see it so I have to use Siri to control it.

One thing Gabe hits on is that Siri often has too much personality. “Good morning, Gabe” isn’t much of a joke, but it’s certainly unhelpful since it overrides his Siri Shortcut. But for years, I’ve been annoyed that when I ask Siri was the temperature is outside during the winter, if it’s anywhere close to freezing, it always includes an uncanny valley “brrrr” because it was programmed by someone living in a warm climate. I live in New England. In the winter, it’s that cold all the time in the winter. Just give me the temperature.

As for the suggestions, I hope the algorithm will improve over time and it will only suggest actions that will benefit from being repeatable.