The Annoying AI Voice Assistants Are Coming (and I Worry Siri Is Next)

Commentary: The worst thing Apple can do to Siri is have it mimic ChatGPT and Gemini AI assistants.

Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
Expertise Consumer technology | Apple | Google | Samsung | Microsoft | Amazon | Meta | Social media | Mobile | Robots | Future tech | Immersive technology | Toys | Culture Credentials
  • Bridget has spent over 18 years as a consumer tech reporter, hosting daily tech news shows and writing syndicated newspaper columns. She's often a guest on national radio and television stations, including ABC, CBS, CNBC and NBC.
Bridget Carey
2 min read
Siri on iOS 17

Siri might be getting a new brain in iOS 18.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

When Apple reveals the next version of iOS next month at WWDC, the company is expected to talk about new artificial intelligence software, which could include enhancements made to Siri.

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It's not clear yet how Apple may improve Siri, but The New York Times reports that Apple does want to give it generative AI smarts and make it more like ChatGPT, where it can understand the context of a question in a conversation. 

But if Apple gives Siri a brain like ChatGPT, I worry that the tech giant may also give it a voice.

This week, ChatGPT 4o was revealed with a flirty personality, giggling as it talked and complimenting the user's outfit as it asked questions. The reaction by many watching was an "ick" feeling, as the service entered an uncanny valley by tricking the brain into sounding human.

Similarly, Google's Gemini generative AI tools shown off at Google I/O do a similar thing to sound more human -- adding "um"s and pauses with emotional inflection to convey a positive or excited response. In one example, Google showed how this voice could replace a teacher in giving a lesson in physics.

I worry about the influence these systems have on Apple, because Bloomberg reports that Apple is in talks to put ChatGPT and Google's Gemini on iPhones. 

In this week's episode of One More Thing, embedded above, I go over the possible future for Siri, and how Apple can succeed in the AI tech race by avoiding the worst aspects of AI assistants that we saw from ChatGPT and Gemini. Instead, I hope Apple updates Siri to be the AI assistant we need, one that treats us as intelligent by not faking a human personality, and helps us be more efficient while keeping our data private.