On Facebook, my old pal Josh mentioned how terrible Siri is, and it reminded me of a comparison I frequently make to my tech-informed friends:

Akismet is actually my benchmark for services like this – the promise of “getting better with age” isn’t one you can just make & walk away from, and Akismet had constant non-stop tuning done to it for several years in a row to make it as good as it is now. Siri hasn’t improved, and the snarky responses when she doesn’t understand have only gotten more irritating.

Imagine if Akismet replied with “I’m sorry; I can’t tell if this is spam or delicious commentary.” every-time it wasn’t confident.

Akismet is so good, nothing in the space really comes close yet. I think that means it’s also ripe for competition, and newer insights into machine learning & big-data help make that more possible, but Akismet has such a huge head start it would be hard to play catch-up.