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The much-needed reinvention of the voice assistant is almost here

Apple’s Siri voice assistant has a new look and a new brain. | Image: Apple

Voice assistants hold so much promise, but in the decade-plus since Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa first wormed their ways into our lives, their most compelling use is still setting timers. Competition from Google’s Assistant (and if we’re being charitable, Samsung’s Bixby) failed to light the spark of innovation in this space, and in many ways, voice control has regressed. These assistants regularly misunderstand, mishear, and sometimes just don’t listen at all. They’re a far cry from the proactive, actually smart digital assistants they were originally pitched as.

Enter generative AI: the technology voice assistants need to transform them from novel to necessary. This week at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced plans…

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