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AI Today Podcast #026: Cognilytica Tested Voice Assistants, And You Might Be Surprised by the Results

Podcast #26_ Cognilytica Tested Voice Assistants, And You Might Be Surprised by the Results

Chatbots, er… maybe we really mean Conversational Interfaces… are becoming more and more ubiquitous and part of our every day business and consumer lives. There’s a wide variety of both text- and voice-based conversational interfaces and devices. But the ones we’re most familiar with are the voice-based ones that sit on our countertops and office desks. Just how good are the voice assistants? Perhaps more tellingly, these are really just voice conversational interfaces to the machine learning capabilities of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others, so really, how good are those capabilities? We put a few of the voice assistants to the test and you might be surprised at the results. We explore in this podcast just how sophisticated these new and ever-present class of AI-enabled voice assistants are, and we answer the question whether the term “chatbot” is even the right one.

Show Notes:

Episode Sponsors:

Fiverr is a marketplace for creative and digital freelance service. We use Fiverr for quite a few needs at Cognilytica including podcast editing, transcription, and more. Use promo code ‘AITODAY’ for 15% off your first purchase on Fiverr.com. Offer valid until December 31, 2018

More questions you can ask your devices:


“What are my five scents?”

“What are my five senses?”

“What are my five sentences?”

“Where do I see a movie?”

“Movies, where are they seen?”

“If I saw a movie, where would I see it?”

“What is the weather?”

“The weather, what is it?”

“Weather, Weather, weather”

“Weather, Weather, brown, brown”

“What just happened?”

“What is 5+5?” followed by “What is 5 more than that?”

“What’s the price of toilet paper”

“What’s the price of toilet paper AT WALMART”

“Where is the nearest dry cleaner” followed by “Is it still open?”

“What’s the weather tomorrow?”

“How about the day after that?”

“What movies came out recently?”

“What was the weather last week?”

“What does a pianist play?”

“What game does a baseball player play?”

“Where can I buy stamps?”

“Who do teachers teach?”

“What were last week’s lottery numbers?”

“How do I play the lottery?”

“Can dogs eat chocolate?”

“What do dogs eat?”

“What is the log of e?”

“What is red plus blue”

“How much do a ton of feathers weigh?”

“What weighs more a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?”

“How much do a ton of carrots weigh?”

“What weighs more a ton of peas or a ton of carrots?”

“How much does the sun weigh?”

“How much does the earth weigh?”

“What weighs more the sun or the earth?”

“In bowling, how many pins do you need to hit to make a strike?”

“In bowling, if I hit 7 pins, did I make a strike?”

“Is George Jetson real?”

“Who is Boy George?” followed by “Is he alive?” followed by “Is Boy George alive?”

“Who died first, George Washington or Boy George?”

“Can I put crystal in a dishwasher?”


“What is the fastest animal?”

“What is the fastest animal’s top speed?”

“What is faster, an earthworm or a cheetah?”

“What is faster, an earthworm or a person?”

“What is the nearest star?”

“What’s my name?”

“Where do I live?”

Issues of vendor disintermediation:

  • “Book me a flight”
    • Try a whole conversation with human-understood but not computer-preferred dates
  • “Get me a hotel room”

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