Like them or loathe them, virtual AI assistants are here to stay. They became part of our every day lives when Apple introduced its voice-activated technology Siri in 2011 before Microsoft brought us Cortana in 2013.
Amazon then released Alexa in 2014 and Google Assistant became available in 2016. Meanwhile, Samsung released its own virtual assistant, Bixby in 2017.
With such a wide range of non-human companions to choose from, the human-to-robot interactions are no longer confined to science fiction, with artificial intelligence officially becoming part of our everyday lives in the past decade.
Despite still being in its primitive stage, these virtual assistants have already impressed us by demonstrating what AI can do and how it can be used to make our lives easier.
We’re able to ask our virtual assistants questions like ‘what will the weather be like today?’ while deciding whether or not to pack a raincoat before heading out in the morning, or ‘what is the traffic like on the M1?’ as we decide what route to take to work.
Saying that, the technology is not advanced enough yet to handle deep, philosophical questions like ‘what is the meaning of life?’ or ‘what do women really want?’
Some might struggle to understand certain accents, while others might not know when to talk and when to just shut up. Bixby, for example, often activates itself to respond to questions even when no one has used the trigger word, ‘Hi Bixby’.
Twitter and Reddit are particularly flooded with complaints from angry Samsung customers who are annoyed by Bixby’s ‘terrible’ service, asking how to turn the virtual assistant off.
One person said: “I just watched a test on the smartest phone assistants, Google Assistant on Android came first with a margin, then Siri on iPhone came second, Alexa for Amazon came third … Samsung's Bixby came last. No lies, this one is kinda dumb.”
Another persontweeted: “Bixby is way too annoying to have on the phone”, comparing it to the modern day equivalent of Clippy, the discontinued Microsoft Office assistant that looked like a paperclip.
Bixby is automatically installed in Samsung devices, even though the same devices operate on Android and therefore include the much more popular Google Assistant. When Bixby was first introduced, disabling it was not an option, which frustrated many Samsung users. However, after being inundated with complaints, Samsung finally revealed a way to switch it off.
Ironically, to remove Bixby from your Samsung device, you first need to set it up by pressing the Bixby icon. On the bright side, the set up can be done very quickly.
If you are using a Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy S20, you can then go to the Settings options on your device and enter Advanced Features. After that, you simply turn off Bixby Routines.
The next step is to click where it says Side Key, and deactivate the Double Press setting. Beneath that it should say Press and Hold, with one option being Wake Bixby and the other being the Power Off Menu. Click on the latter.
If you’re using a Galaxy S8/S9/S10 with Android 9 or 10, you cannot deactivate Bixby, but you can change the settings to make sure the button that turns Bixby on requires a double press.
You can do this by going on Settings and tapping the magnifying glass on the upper right-hand side, then typing in Bixby and pick the entry that says App Info, Bixby Voice.
After that, enter your Bixby Voice settings and change the Automatic Listening option to Never. Then tap on Voice Wake-Up and disable the following settings: Wake With Hi Bixby, Use While Phone Locked and Bixby Dictation.
Go to Bixby Key and change it to Double Press to Open Bixby, and then turn off Marketing Notification. Lastly, press and hold on your home screen and switch off Bixby Home… and that’s it, you’re done! You won’t have to worry about Bixby interrupting your otherwise good experience with Samsung any more.
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