Apple enables Siri to handle shortcuts, pivots to automation over AI bakeoff

Apple is betting that Siri can be use as an automation engine to help you complete tasks faster. At WWDC 2018, the company announced it will offer a library and tools to program shortcuts for Siri.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Apple said it will give Siri an overhaul and enable it to do more via an feature called shortcuts that automates and cuts steps in a function.

The general idea is that Apple will be able to tap into the collective knowhow of apps to move faster at work and home.

Siri will activate apps and take fewer steps to carry out a function. Apple software chief Craig Federighi unveiled shortcuts across multiple steps.

Simply put, Siri needed these shortcuts because it enables apps and customers to program it to make it more useful. With the move to shortcuts, Siri becomes less the AI bakeoff with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa and more about being an automation tool.

Federighi said Siri will be able to do the following:

  • Look up calendar times, weather, reminders.
  • Suggest you text a meeting organization.
  • Turn on do not disturb when in a movie.
  • Suggest you order coffee.

Federighi said that Siri continually works in the background and will look for suggestions. Apple said shortcuts can be created by users. There's also a library for shortcuts.


Here's where Siri can fall over: What happens if Siri is overloaded with apps.

Another potential issue: It's unclear whether iPhone and iPad users will take the time to create Siri shortcuts.

Everything iOS 12 from Apple's WWDC 2018 keynote

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