Code-locked Agents Do Not Get It

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Posted: January 6, 2017

I live in North Carolina, and there’s a big storm heading our way tonight. I knew we would be getting snow, but we’re all edge because we’re trying to figure out if we’ll have enough to do some sledding, but not too much that it’s not all gone in time for School on Monday.

This morning, I asked Alexa when we would get snow tonight, and she responded with:

There’s no snow in the forecast today for CITY_NAME, but there’s a Winter Storm Watch in effect between 7 PM tonight and 1:00 PM Saturday.

Wait a minute. We don’t have snow in the forecast, but there’s a winter storm watch in effect? Yeah, Alexa, I’m pretty sure that a Winter Storm INCLUDES snow.

That’s the problem with code-locked agents, they only know what they know, and Alexa apparently doesn’t know that snow’s a component of most every Winter Storm.

When I asked Google Now the same question, she didn’t answer me, but did bring up a browser window with search results for the winter storm. At least she was able to relate “snow” with “weather and get me the answer I wanted. I asked the question verbally, I sure would have liked it if she answered me instead of giving me search results, but at least her answer was more direct than Alexa’s.

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