Could Apple’s Siri be displaced by an AI?

Using Apple’s built-in Shortcuts app, artificial intelligence developer Mckay Wrigley created a simple way to replace Apple’s voice-activated assistant, Siri, with the ChatGPT chatbot. And the result is pretty profound.

On Monday, Wrigley posted a link to his free download on Twitter, along with a video (viewed more than 3 million times) showing how the chatbot shortcut works. Apple Shortcuts is a visual, code-free app that makes it relatively easy for non-technical users to automate tasks with a single tap or voice command—for example, muting TikTok when the app opens.

So why would someone want to get rid of Siri, who has been with us since 2011? ChatGPT, the brainchild of OpenAI, behaves like Siri—if it had a postgraduate education. Since its most recent GPT-4 update rolled out to the public two weeks ago, it has been dazzling users with its flair for conversation, wit, and endless (though sometimes flawed) knowledge.


Commenters on Wrigley’s post immediately started augmenting and improving on his little hack, speeding up the output, rendering it as text rather than spoken (ChatGPT tends to be a bit verbose, and many people don’t want to hear it drone on), and even keeping track of past queries for context.

Needless to say, not everyone could get the script working, including me, at first. (The fix was canceling my $20 a month ChatGPT subscription, then re-subscribing and generating a new API key.)

As ChatGPT continues to eat the world, it’ll be interesting to see whether more people use it instead of voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa. For now, though, the chatbot isn’t making any predictions. Asked whether it’s “better or smarter” than Siri, it replied: “As an AI language model, it's not entirely appropriate to compare ChatGPT to Apple's Siri, as they serve different purposes and have unique features. While both are AI-powered virtual assistants, they have distinct focuses and strengths.”

Asked the same question, Siri replied: “I’m not sure I understand the question.”


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