Number of Siri-style AI assistants will overtake humans by 2021

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The number of AI assistants by 2021 will outnumber the current
world population, according to market research group Ovum’s new
Digital Assistant and Voice AI–Capable Device Forecast.

The report
highlights the growing popularity of Siri-style smart
assistants, and also offers some intriguing predictions as to
which AI assistants will become big, and which will be
also-rans.


As can be
seen from the chart at the top of this story, Google
Assistant — which was yesterday announced
as being on its way to iOS
— is predicted as occupying 23.3
percent market share in 2021. After this, Samsung’s
slightly flawed Bixby
is set to occupy second place with
14.5 percent, Apple’s Siri with 13.1 percent, Amazon’s Alexa
with 3.9 percent, and Microsoft’s Cortana with 2.3 percent.


While right now the majority of
devices used to access smart assistants are smartphones and
tablets, Ovum thinks that this will gradually shift as wearable
devices, TV set-top boxes, smart home speakers, and more
continue their rise. By 2021. the market research firm suggests
AI assistants will be found on 1.63 billion devices.

They
also note the importance of expanding overseas:

“The most important challenge for vendors will be to deploy
and maintain their digital assistants globally. At the end of
2016, over 95% of the installed base for Amazon’s Alexa and
Google Assistant was in North America, compared to 24% for
Apple’s Siri. By 2021, 47.6% of voice AI–capable devices in
use will be in Asia & Oceania. With an active installed
base close to 1.2 billion devices in 2021, digital assistants
of Chinese origin are set to be as powerful as Apple’s Siri
or Samsung’s Bixby. They already accounted for close to 43
million devices in 2016, led by companies such as Baidu and
iFlytek.”


It’s
definitely interesting stuff, and something Apple is trying its
hardest to keep up with. Although Apple was the first
mainstream tech company to introduce a smart AI voice assistant
with the
iPhone 4s in 2011
, in the years since then it has fallen
behind a lot of its rivals.


More
recently, it has made a concerted effort to catch up again —
with decisions like switching to using deep
learning tech in 2014
, making Siri a key
part of the Apple TV interface
with the fourth-generation
model, and bringing
Siri to Mac
with the latest macOS. At this year’s WWDC,
Apple is widely predicted to be introducing a
standalone Siri speaker
that could serve as a rival to
Amazon’s Echo product line.

Do you think it’s inevitable that Siri will fall behind in
terms of adoption as AI assistants continue to advance? Are you
a regular user of AI assistants? Leave your comments below.