Make your Voice Assistant work for you


Whether you’ve got Siri or Google Assistant, Alexa or Bixby (or even Cortana), voice assistants were designed to make your life easier. They can call your mom, set your morning alarm - they can even understand Glaswegian accents.

During lockdown, it’s likely you’ve been using them to change radio stations, time the second rise on your sourdough, or remind you what day it is. But, have you tried making them actually… you know… do your job?

We put this idea to the test.

Setting the Scene

If you are a smart home enthusiast, you will already have made your workspace fully assistant-enabled: the right ‘focus’ on-demand playlist; just the right medical-white hue and violent brightness of light to trick your brain into thinking you’re still in the office. If you’re an advanced smart home enthusiast, your assistant will execute all these processes using a single command. ‘It’s time to get some work done,’ you say, and – lo – the perfect conditions appear! Now just half an hour of reading the news and you can begin.

Verdict: enthusiastic pass

Text Dictation

Text dictation is now at a point where you won’t be able to tell that this section is completely dictated using voice assist semi colon we didn’t even need to edit it full stop new line did it work? We joke! Some of the best RHA blogs have been dictated after hours in the traffic jam home. And if that won’t convince you of its quality, well…

Verdict: pass exclamation mark

Specialist Decision-Making

If you’re looking for recipe ideas, seasonal planting advice – or want to check what your client/sister’s pet is allergic to - assistants are great. Too great, in fact; we asked what flavours pair well with onion and had to sit still for ten minutes while we listened to the results. HOWEVER, if you’re a doctor, or a lawyer, or a deep-sea expedition operator, or an assassin, maybe stick to the manual. Search engines are certainly very enthusiastic in their advice, but not yet 100% reliable. Or even 50%.

Verdict: fail


For the duration of April, Google Assistant has been tasked with compiling our invoices and receipts and liaising with the finance and human resources department at RHA. This has not gone well.

Verdict: hard fail

Office Chat

We asked Siri to tell us a joke:

"I don’t normally tell dad jokes, but when I do, he usually laughs"

Whether this is of an equal-to-or-higher standard than what goes on in your office is your choice. We liked it.

Verdict: neutral

It might be a while until we get completely replaced by AI, then. But they did prove useful. If you have an RHA headphone, activate your friendly neighbourhood digital assistant by holding down your remote or earbud button for 1.5 seconds – until you hear a ‘dood-dood!’. If you don’t have an RHA headphone, well, we’ve got something for that too…

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