Hey Siri, Can We Not Start With The Simple Stuff?

Self-driving cars, robot armies, the Singularity; everything related to Artificial Intelligence is big stuff. Life-changing innovations that are just around the corner (supposedly).

No, this is not a complaint about how long innovation in AI is taking, nor am I skeptical that all this stuff is going to happen, it will. But why does everything in AI have to revolve around these huge, long-term goals? Is nobody willing to work on some small stuff that improves what I do every day, right now, even though it’s small? Is that too much to ask?

For example, because I once — on my first visit — connected to the wrong Wi-Fi network in my local Starbucks, macOS now always defaults to that network first. It’s one of those paid ones nobody uses with a login screen that pops-up. So now every day, I need to click this screen away, go to my Wi-Fi icon in the right top corner, and change to the network that doeswork.

I know, it’s a minor inconvenience, and I can easily live with it if I have to. But I do this every day, and it’s a clear pattern of an action that’s completely unnecessary. Shouldn’t Siri — or her godfather, macOS — be smart enough to recognize these steps after a few times and start connecting to the right Wi-Fi instead?

Sure, it’s small stuff, and it’s definitely not a sexy problem to fix. But there are countless of these mundane patterns spread across my days:

  • The tags I give to Evernote notes (Evernote still doesn’t understand I always give the April tag in April, the 2018 tag in 2018, etc.).
  • The notes I manually capture from my Kindle after finishing a book.
  • The meeting times I always change from 60 to 50 minutes on my calendar.
  • The two hour reminders I add to normal, one-off meetings, versus the 15 minute one to recurring ones.

I’m sure there are other such patterns throughout my day I’m not even aware of myself. With a bit of machine learning, our devices (and their OSs) should easily be able to solve this. Not in a decade, not in a few years, but right now.

What about it, Siri?

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