Bixby’s Getting Better AI, Will Answer Calls With Your Voice (eventually)


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Ah, Bixby. Samsung’s answer to the infinitely more popular (and arguably better) Siri that Apple cultivated all the way back in 2011. We’ve dealt with Bixby for the past six years – only ever calling upon its services as a virtual assistant accidentally. Until you remember that you can turn it off, that is.

But Samsung’s latest AI additions to the helper might warrant a resurrection from the ‘disabled apps’ list. Specifically, the South Korean conglomerate is rolling out Bixby Text Calling – a feature that’ll answer phone calls for you.

Hey Siri Uh, hey Bixby?

Picture this — you’re spending a relaxing Saturday at home, with nothing to distract you from your book or your thoughts (thanks Eskom). Until you receive a call that you’d rather not answer. That’s where Bixby comes in. It’ll ask you to type out a message that it will then convert into audio and relay back to the caller.

Since its inception, text calling through Bixby has been locked to South Korea, with Samsung only recently making the feature available in English. A handy feature that’ll help… some people. But Bixby can go deeper – often bordering on the line of downright creepy. It can become you.

English users can record specific sentences for Bixby, allowing it to build an AI-generated model of your own voice. It’ll use that model to answer your calls, so you don’t have to. It might eventually venture out beyond just answering phone calls and integrate itself into Samsung’s other apps. But we’re not there just yet.

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Besides the brilliant prank opportunities a feature like this offers, we don’t see much use for it outside a few specific conditions. We imagine that the people needing this feature have their hands busy and can’t (or don’t want to) type out a response.

Working smarter

Aside from text calling, Bixby’s general smarts are getting a much-needed upgrade. Its understanding of contextual follow-up requests and on-device computing functions should improve after the update, and the assistant will also gain offline command support.

The improvements are set to appear in the form of a software update and any device that uses English as the main form of communication will have access to the AI text-calling feature. The update rollout will begin in February though availability will vary across supported markets. Samsung hasn’t offered up any release windows for when we can expect Bixby to imitate non-Korean voices.

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