Belfast accent fifth hardest for AI assistants to understand

  • New research has revealed that Belfast accents are one of the hardest for our virtual assistants such as Google Home to understand.

    The study from comparison service, found that Belfast accents are the fifth most difficult for home support devices to identify.

    Northern Ireland’s capital city seemed to have a lot of issues when asking their devices basic commands, as they scored highly in Uswitch’s voice clarity test, and searched ‘Why doesn’t my Alexa understand me?’ over 1,300 times.

    The Cardiff accent ranked first, followed by Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and then our own Belfast.

    RELATED: Belfast ranked in top 10 Tech Cities of the Future

    Over 5.8m homes across the UK are estimated to currently have AI assistants, and Uswitch analysed 30 regional accents by recording individuals asking their smart machines 10 common questions, such as ‘what is the date today?’

    Each city’s accent was then given a score out of 10 for voice clarity - the higher the score meaning the more errors were encountered.

    The study also used Google’s keyword planner to collect data on how many people in each city searched ‘Why doesn’t Alexa / Google understand me?’

    All the metrics were totalled together to produce an overall data picture.

    RELATED: Belfast rated one of the best UK cities to work in for tech

    The clearest accent came from people living in London. With only 200 monthly searches for ‘Why doesn’t Alexa understand me?’ and just 75 for the same question of Google, the UK’s capital also scored a two for voice clarity during the experiment, assuming near-perfect pronunciation.

    Despite artificial intelligence not being able to comprehend our dulcet tones, a survey of 1.5m people last year by Big 7 Travel ranked the Northern Ireland accent the second sexiest in all of the UK – so there’s always a silver lining!

    Sources: MSN News,

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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