Voice search is a major trend for 2020, but a new study by digital transformation consulting firm Perficient Digital has found that the progress of virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa may have stalled.
The annual research looks at the ability of these AI-powered assistants to answer questions posed to them by the public in search and within mobile and desktop operating systems.
The performance of assistants had been steadily tracking higher, but this year marks a notable shift as not only is accuracy not improving, but it has also declined slightly compared to the 2018 study.
“Overall, though, progress has stalled to a certain degree. We’re no longer seeing major leaps in progress by any of the players,” Perficient Digital’s Eric Enge said in a statement.
Enge believes that the algorithms deployed by Google, Apple and other tech leaders may have reached their limits and that a new approach is likely to be needed to arrest the decline and to deliver a step-change in performance.
While there has been a plateau across the board this year, virtual assistants are still very capable of answering questions correctly.
Google Assistant on smartphones is the best overall as it scored the highest percentage of correct responses to questions.
Worryingly for Apple, Siri came bottom of the pile with the most incorrect responses, and its accuracy has seen a 12% drop off year-over-year.
Meanwhile, Microsoft made the most attempts to answer questions correctly, but it often struggled to do so and ranked alongside Siri in the performance stakes.