Just What Do You Think You’re Doing, Dave? Siri Might Have a Mind of Her Own
Dec 2011 29

Just What Do You Think You’re Doing, Dave? Siri Might Have a Mind of Her Own

Posted In Blog,Geek,Internuts

by Bob Suicide


[Bob Suicide in Bears Beets Battlestar Galactica]

To be completely honest, I never wanted or liked having Siri on my iPhone. My wishlist of features for future phones will never include the desire that my phone “talk to or at me more.” The social implications of a world filled with people who own phones that talk makes me shudder down to my very anti-social core.

Imagine if everyone who currently owned an iPhone had Siri on it; you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without hearing that robotic voice making appointments, giving directions, or doing some kid’s math homework. People who used to quietly access information on their phone will now yell at it until it yells back. The implication being that it takes several attempts and ultimately frustrated yelling at the phone in order to get the artificial “intelligence” to understand your request.

After the social decline that I can see Siri ushering in, I’m afraid of the “dumbning-down” of the consumer interface. People won’t need to learn how to use their phone to access information. They won’t need to understand how apps function or how to navigate Google maps. All they have to do now is yell at it until it tells them what they want to hear. Why learn how to use your phone when a robot can use it for you?

So, given my ardent dislike of Siri, I’m not at all surprised that she isn’t performing exactly the way people want. But, what does surprise me is what everyone seems to be complaining about.

Numerous media outlets are reporting that Siri is failing to point out abortion clinics. This oversight prompted both the rallying cry of an elaborate pro-life conspiracy on the part of Apple and the hailing of a new life-saving technological advance (depending upon which side of the debate you fall on). A pro-life group went so far as to congratulate Siri (and Apple) for the, “Numerous lives [that] will be saved as a direct result.” While the ACLU called upon Apple to fix the “glitch” immediately.

When asked to find a clinic, Siri says, “I didn’t find any.” And when you ask her this question in the middle of a large metropolitan area, whether you’re pro choice, pro life, or apathetic to the idea of children, it’s clear Siri isn’t looking hard enough.

Apple has since responded to the uproar by saying that Siri is young and hasn’t quite learned everything she needs to know, but as she “ages” through updates she will become more knowledgeable. Clearly, no one at Apple sat her down and had “the talk” about the birds and the bees before launch. She’ll just have to pick it up from the streets.

The reality is that there are a lot of things that Siri doesn’t know about yet. When I first got her, I yelled “cylon” at her in varying tones for the better part of ten minutes, but she has no idea what their plan is. Just because abortion happens to be a hot-button issue, Siri is seen as having a political agenda rather than the incompetent software that it currently is. Us geeks have all lamented the missing or defective features in the latest iteration of our favorite OSs, and Siri’s inability to find an abortion clinic or properly call my mother instead of my brother is another in that long list.

But, let’s go out on a limb and assume that Siri really is a pro-life sentient software. Why are you complaining that this intelligent techno-butler doesn’t share all of the same ideals as you? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t herald the creation of technology that will lead to sentient software and then get upset when that software appears to have a perspective that differs from yours.

You may be able to argue that Siri isn’t properly doing her job. You might have hired her to give you all possible suggestions, directions, platitudes, and words of heartfelt encouragement, and if so, and you find Siri fails to do her job in any of these categories, then the solution is obvious: she should be fired. Get a new phone or stop using Siri and go back to accessing your phone’s apps like the cavemen before you used to do.

In the mean time, let’s all just laugh it off with some hilarious visions of Siri over-compensating for her latest faux pas:

For more Siri/Abortion hilarity visit HappyPlace.com/.


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