The Toxic Fragility of Siri Shortcuts

December 06, 2018 by Gabe | [mmd] |

I have a daily routine that should involve Siri Shortcuts. I have two custom actions to control HomeKit scenes in my house. In the morning it sets my bedroom, hallway, and kitchen to 20% light when I say "I'm Awake". At night I say "I'm in bed" and Shortcuts turns off all of the lights except for my bedroom, regardless of their current state. I love both of these Shortcuts because I can use a simple voice command to trigger them and they make my life a tiny bit better. Well, they did until a couple of weeks ago.

Now when I issue my Shortcut voice trigger I get this...

Shortcut

That's not funny or helpful. I find it hard to believe that there are Apple customers so desperate for human interactions that they want a speaker to tell them good morning. Instead, a system that is supposed to compete with Google and Amazon decided to override an explicit command with a bad joke.

I'm not sure how this stuff happens, but I'm seeing more enthusiasm for Siri Shortcuts than I think it deserves. Predictably, I think Apple has released a software product that will only get more irrelevant as the realities set in on users. Shortcuts are not easy or fun to make. The system suggested Shortcuts almost seem like bad jokes in their own right. "Do you want to create a shortcut to text your wife 'LOL, nearly killed me'?" No. I never do.

Without predictable outcomes from Siri Shortcuts it might as well not exist. It's not helpful to issue a command that worked yesterday and get a joke response back today. If I wanted that, I'd ask my kid to do it.

tags