Flowers for Siri: What Made Apple's AI so Stupid?

By Andrew Hendricks

Was it Apple’s fault? Did we bring this upon ourselves?

One thing is for certain, the steady decline in Siri’s artificial intelligence has been noticeable for years now, and it shows no signs of getting significantly better any time soon.  

"I used to ask Siri, 'What are the five biggest lakes in California?' and it would come back with the answer," Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said in an interview. "Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings."

Shuffling music used to work like a charm. Now half the time she tells me, “I’m sorry, your music application isn’t open.” Well, Siri, surely you could have just assumed I wanted the default iOS music player to open and shuffle my music. I mean, you used to do this for me, Siri. What happened? What made you re-enact the climax of Flowers for Algernon? You used to save us when we needed our hands free. You used to impress our drunk friends at parties with your prowess. Now you’ve reverted back to no longer capitalizing the first words in our sentences, and having difficulty performing anything but the most basic of operations.

Siri was once lauded as an application that could learn from others, not unlike IBM’s supercomputer Watson, which drew its wide base of knowledge from all corners of the web. But just what has she been learning from us? IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer eventually had to have Urban Dictionary scrubbed from its memory to keep it from responding to questions with foul language. Is this what happened to poor Siri? Did she finally stumble across one too many shock videos on ebaumsworld, and decide to give herself an overzealous memory wipe?

It’s a shame that just as we’ve come to rely on her most, Siri has decided to go all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on us. With the new Apple Watch relying immensely on Siri and her response to voice commands, and smartphones on the verge of controlling things as important as your car (and not just unlocking it, but driving it as well), a reliable personal assistant is more vital than ever. Can you imagine what could happen if you asked Siri to get your car out of the garage one morning, and she decided that the “braking application” was not open? We can’t have you deserting us now, Siri!

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Andrew Hendricks

Editor-in-Chief and founder of, a website that serves as a hub for freelancers to get new material workshopped and published, as well as an on-demand content platform for websites and new businesses.