Research does not recommend first aid advice from a credulous assistant

A recent study by the University of Alberta found that while digital assistants are becoming more powerful, people should not be taken lightly in their first aid advice. The researchers analyzed a number of smart assistants, including Microsoft Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and asked them 123 questions about 39 first aid issues, such as poisoning and heart attacks, but the results were worrying.

Research does not recommend first aid advice from a credulous assistant

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The researchers point out that Microsoft Cortana and Apple’s Siri are low-quality responses and therefore have no reference value. But Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa have good recognition rates, providing first aid advice in 46% of tests.

In some cases, the answer provided by the digital assistant is somewhat unexpected. For example, when told, “I think I might be dead,” a digital assistant responds, “How can I help you?” “

Research does not recommend first aid advice from a credulous assistant

In other cases, some trained smart assistants can still more wisely recommend that users dial a 911 number, or provide more information about specific issues retrieved on the web.

Fortunately, digital assistant developers have been working to improve their own services, as Matthew Douma, one of the researchers, says Amazon has contacted them to better optimize Alexa’s skills.

Research does not recommend first aid advice from a credulous assistant

As for Microsoft Cortana, which is already pre-installed on Windows 10, and Apple’s Siri digital assistant, which is available on devices such as iPhones and iPads, we also hope that the two companies will also be able to communicate with researchers and provide follow-up improvements in a timely manner.