Samsung's Bixby Interferes With A Trial, User Reports

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Samsung's Bixby, the competitor to the Google Assistant and Siri that debuted on the Galaxy S8, has had its fair share of disparagers, but it seems that a Redditor going by the handle "mshelbym" is the first to complain about it being far too talkative in one of the worst possible places – a courtroom. The user recently took to Reddit to reveal that she was in a trial that was the very first for a new lawyer that she was training, and had her Galaxy S8 in her bra due to her suit jacket's pockets being sewn shut. In such a tight space and with skin present to trigger the touch screen, it only took the Galaxy S8 until the end of mshelbym's opening argument to trigger Bixby. The AI indicated that it couldn't understand its user's request, and repeatedly attempted to obtain a new request and the user's verbal password, finally forcing the owner to retrieve the errant device, which was already on silent, and cease Bixby's loop. She indicated that the gaffe could have cost her a $200 bond to retrieve her phone, but the presiding judge was forgiving.

What likely happened was that the Bixby button was pressed, and since Bixby's voice was linked to the media volume and not the ringer volume, it made its first request for a command, and ended up going off until the user finally shut it down manually. A voice-driven AI assistant going off on a tangent at an inconvenient moment isn't an occurrence that's completely unheard of, but this is likely Bixby's first recorded run-in with a confused court stenographer.

This is not the first time that the case for Samsung allowing users to remap the Bixby button has been made, and it is unlikely to be the last. While many Galaxy S8 owners are finding Bixby useful, others are going as far as trying to root the device to remap the button, or even disabling Bixby entirely in favor of the Google Assistant. Even so, it is worth noting that this particular case of bad luck could have befallen almost any device; Motorola and Samsung devices with always-on screens, for example, could be accidentally unlocked in such a scenario, if the user did not set up a lock code. Even if a code was set, inadvertently triggering functions like voice commands or even the phone's camera are possible. Packed into such a tight space, of course, almost any device could have had its power button accidentally depressed, leading to all sorts of awkward possibilities.

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