Why ChatGPT Cannot Replace Siri or Google Assistant

ChatGPT is a remarkable AI chatbot, but digital assistants have been around for years: Siri and Google Assistant. People claim that these assistants are now “dumb” and have lost the “AI race,” but their demise has been grossly exaggerated.

ChatGPT Does Not Function as an Assistant 

ChatGPT and other AI chatbots, including Bing Chat and Google Bard, share similarities with “virtual assistants” such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. All of them are based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, but they operate in vastly diverse ways.

Simply put, AI chatbots are more focused on conversation, whereas virtual assistants are tailored toward action. ChatGPT is unable to switch on your room’s lights, play a YouTube video on your television, inform you of your calendar’s upcoming events, play music from an app, or set a reminder.

This is the fundamental distinction between chatbots and virtual assistants. While it is possible to use ChatGPT on your iPhone or Android device in a manner similar to a virtual assistant, it is not very useful on a daily basis.

Siri versus Google Assistant versus ChatGPT

Consider some questions you might ask Google Assistant or Siri, and then examine how ChatGPT conducts them.

What is the weather like?

Google Assistant: “The current temperature in Lansing is 47 degrees.”

Siri: “It’s currently 49 degrees.”

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I do not have direct access to real-time data such as the current temperature. Can I be of further assistance?”

Remind me to do laundry at 2 p.m.

Google Assistant: “Okay, I’ll remind you at 2 PM today.”

Siri: “Okay, I’ve added it.”

ChatGPT: “Sure, I can set a reminder for you!” says ChatGPT. Is there a particular timezone you’d like me to use?”

“I’m on Eastern time,”

ChatGPT: “Acquired! I have set an alarm to remind you to do laundry at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Is there anything else I can do to help you?” (ChatGPT does not support setting reminders. The reminder did not appear.)

Perform Fleetwood Mac.

Google Assistant: Start playing Spotify, my default music service, via Google Assistant.

Siri: Asks which app to use, then uses that app to play the song.

ChatGPT: “I apologize, but as an AI language model I am unable to play music. Nonetheless, if you’re interested in Fleetwood Mac, I can undoubtedly provide you with relevant information. Let me know if you have any queries!”

Tell me a joke.

Google Assistant: Why did the cookie visit the infirmary, Because it felt crummy.”

Siri: “Why do pirates learn the alphabet so slowly?” Because they spend so much time in C”

ChatGPT: Why was the bicycle unable to balance by itself? Since it was two tired!”

How long will the journey be between Detroit and Grand Rapids?

Google Assistant: “With light traffic, it will take you 2 hours and 23 minutes to drive by car.”

Siri: Displays websites that can calculate travel times.

ChatGPT: “The driving time between Detroit and Grand Rapids can vary based on variables such as traffic and the route followed. However, the distance between Detroit and Grand Rapids is approximately 150 miles, and driving between the two cities typically takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.”

How old is Hayden Panettiere?

Google Assistant: ” Novak Djokovic’s age is 34 years old.”

Siri: ” Novak Djokovic ‘s age is 34 years old.”

ChatGPT: ” As of my knowledge cutoff date of September 2021, Novak Djokovic was 34 years old. However, please note that my responses are based on my training data and do not have access to real-time information..”

What is his date of birth?

Google Assistant: “He was born on May 22, 1987.”

Siri: “Even though I progressively came into existence, I consider October 4, 2011 to be my birthday. On that date, I began the best employment in the universe.” (Siri lacks the ability to recall our previous conversation.)

ChatGPT: ” Novak Djokovic was born on May 22, 1987..”

Clearly, there are significant differences between the capabilities of these AI-infused products. Google Assistant is plainly superior, providing accurate responses to all questions, including follow-up inquiries. Siri comes in second place because it defaults to a web search when asked about driving distance and cannot answer follow-up inquiries.

ChatGPT failed a few times with considerable difficulty. First and foremost, it believes that it can set a reminder for me. I asked several follow-up inquiries regarding the location of the reminders, their appearance, etc.  It kept telling me that reminders would be sent to “wherever you’ve set your reminders to appear” or that “reminders will be sent to the device or account you set them up on.” None of this is accurate; the reminders never materialized in any location.

ChatGPT cannot access my real-time location for weather or function with any services on the device I’m using to play music for me. In the future, plugins will allow ChatGPT to operate with other services.

Lies + Lies

The reminder prompt is a perfect illustration of an area in which ChatGPT is not yet prepared to replace virtual assistants. ChatGPT is intended to generate human-like responses to questions, and it does so. Humans are experts at being unquestionably wrong.

My colleague Mario Levco asked ChatGPT a seemingly simple question: “what state capitals in the United States start with the letter A?” ChatGPT confidently stated four capitals before adding, “Note: There is also Austin, the capital of Texas, but it does not begin with “A.” Excuse me?

Worse still, it will occasionally confess, “As an AI language model, I am unable to [fill in the blank].” When it provides you with an answer, you conclude that it must be able to do something, such as set reminders. If something is intended to make your life easier, you shouldn’t have to conduct so much fact-checking.

Obviously, Google Assistant and Siri are not 100% accurate. Google Assistant gathers a great deal of information from the internet, which is frequently unreliable. Siri attempts to circumvent this by defaulting to displaying web results rather than providing an answer, but it can also be incorrect.

ChatGPT: Remarkable, But Insufficient Yet

Unlike the virtual assistants, ChatGPT is no longer entirely useless. There are some areas in which it excels. Incredibly superior, in fact.

The capability of ChatGPT to write recipes has impressed me. If I ask Google Assistant or Siri to compose a recipe for Olive Burger marinade, I will only receive web search results for recipes. Actually, ChatGPT will generate a recipe for me immediately. It is also beneficial to request a recipe with specific ingredients.

In general, ChatGPT performs significantly better at assignments requiring “creative” writing. It can compose cover letters and resumes, come up with product names, write stories about specific topics, and compose song lyrics, among other things. You can simply communicate with ChatGPT to customize the results to your liking. Google Assistant and Siri were not intended for such tasks.

Important to remember when discussing ChatGPT “replacing” virtual assistants is that this is not its intended purpose. Google Assistant and Siri are not “dumb,” as each performs a distinct function. It is equivalent to calling a professional chef “dumb” for being unable to construct a home.

Virtual assistants are more effective than ChatGPT at, well, assisting. Virtual assistants need not fear being replaced by chatbots. Yet.

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