GOOD

The World According to Siri the iPhone Robot

She knows you. Too well.

Siri, Apple’s quirkiest addition to its new iPhone 4S, is making a splash with users for its robotic wit.

 Originally built as an app, the intelligent personal assistant software program was acquired by Apple in spring 2010. Using a natural-language user interface, Siri can answer questions, perform actions like set an alarm or play music, and most interestingly, make recommendations. A user simply has to pull up the program, speak to it verbally, and await a quick verbal and visual response. According to its programmers, Siri (a "she" robot) becomes smarter over time in reference to personal preferences, thus improving her assistant abilities.

As soon as iOS 5 was released, people from around the web highighted the amusing nature of Siri. Kevin Rose of Digg and Milk tweeted his query to Siri: “I’m horny” and her prompt response that according to his physical location, “This escort isn’t far from you: College Cuties Escorts” complete with a map. Sirifunny.com posts multiple screenshots a day, including an answer to “What’s the meaning of life, Siri?” When one user asked Siri to set an alarm for 9:00 a.m., then changed his mind and wrote, “Make it 10:00 am,” Siri responded, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” A parody commercial promoting Siri chronicles a fight between husband and wife, with Siri mediating.

With Siri becoming smarter and smarter as its respective user continues to interact with her, is advice from Siri the new text from mom? After all, she knows to not let you sleep in, can tell you the meaning of life, and is slightly awkward in text form. And although you might not typically ask your mom where to go to get an abortion or emergency contraception, controversially, you can't ask Siri either. Apparently, when faced with important questions like these, she replies, "Sorry, I don't see any places matching [your query]."


In most cases, though, Siri might be more useful than mom in promptness of response and when it comes to location-based queries. And, as @bellelenz noted, “Siri only gives advice when asked.” Sorry, mom.

Photo (cc) via Flickr user smiely.

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