Why Google's virtual assistant won't tell you jokes

Google Now Becomes Way More Useful With Support for 70 More Apps

Google may have a wild sense of humor when it comes to the silly Easter Eggs it hides inside many of its products, but you won't find its virtual assistant joking around.

Google Now, the company's equivalent to Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana, purposely avoids having any sort of personality, search executive Amit Singhal told Time's Victor Luckerson.

Singhal says that incorporating humor into voice assistants hints at artificial intelligence capabilities that just don't exist yet. He believes that it misleads users.

"I'm not saying personality shouldn't come, but the science to get that right doesn't fully exist," he says.

He then dropped a bit of a burn on Apple's Siri, which has a reputation for providing funny responses to questions like "Do you believe in God?" or "Do you have a boyfriend?"

"You've seen what happens in real life," he says. "That is interesting for a day or two, but then it kind of...loses its charm, let's say."

Singhal says that improving natural language processing is one of the big challenges to improving Now and Now On Tap — Google's companion service for Android phones which will scan users' screens to provide even more useful info. The better the virtual assistant can understand the meaning of a complex string of words, the better it can provide helpful answers.

To keep its search relevant in a world where people are increasingly looking for new, non-desktop ways to get information, Google sees expanding Now into more products that you use every day, like TVs or your refrigerator.

Read the rest of the interesting Time piece here.

Related: See more of Google's recent projects, including self-driving cars:

Google's recent projects
See Gallery
Why Google's virtual assistant won't tell you jokes
A Google Street View vehicle collects imagery for Google Maps while driving down a street in Calais, northern France, on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An attendee looks through a Legendary Pictures Inc. branded Google Cardboard VR (virtual reality) viewer during the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 9, 2015. Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of comics and related popular art forms. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A PrecisionHawk employee demonstrates a drone featuring LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System) in Durham, North Carolina, U.S., on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Google Inc. is joining some of the biggest companies in technology, communications and aviation -- including Amazon.com Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Harris Corp. -- in trying to create an air-traffic control system to prevent mid-air collisions. PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, North Carolina, drone company with about 100 employees, began developing its own drone traffic control system because the large agriculture and oil companies it flies for wanted something to keep tabs on unmanned flights. Photographer: Jason Arthurs/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Google staff explain the new 'Internet Cycles' that are designed to bring Internet training to Indian villages after its launch in Mumbai on July 3, 2015. Tata Trusts and Google India launched a special program called Internet Saathi to empower women and their communities in rural India by enabling them to benefit from the Internet. The joint initiative is aimed at bridging the technology gender divide, which currently puts women in rural India at further risk of getting marginalized in the society as the world around them benefits from getting online. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

NOW WATCH: This incredible gun lets you quickly build large-scale 3D objects using nothing but tape

More from Business Insider:
How this Googler is trying to shake up Hollywood's idea of who an 'engineer' is
Why the 'moonshot project' that Google just launched could be such a big deal
YouTube is opening its wallet to protect video creators from legal threats

SEE ALSO: A 12-year-old beat out 16,000 other people to win a Google contest — 7 years later, she's a successful artist

Read Full Story

From Our Partners