Today I’m interviewing Cortana, the digital personal assistant in Windows 10 . Cortana lurks at the corner of a computer, represented by a circle. Click on the circle and she springs into action, spinning or pulsating according to her mood.
Cortana: Ask me anything. (A bit too smart for an app, isn’t she?)
But, I click the circle to see what she has to say.
Cortana: Hi, Sheila, what can I do for you?
I see she has been snooping. She already knows my name.
Before I can ask a question, she answers.
Cortana: Here is some information for your evening.
Here’s some top news for today. Here’s the local news. Here are some trending stories.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. I must have asked for this stuff in her settings.
What does Cortana mean?
Cortana: My name comes from Curtana, the legendary French sword.
Never heard of it. Remind me to Google it later.
Are you male or female?
Cortana: Well, technically I’m a cloud of infentesinal data computation.
That is pretty funny. I can’t believe I’m having a conversation with a computer app trying to be a comedian.
Cortana sounds female to me?
Getting huffy, she refers me to the Bing search engine:
… our time in the womb predisposes us to prefer the sound of a woman’s voice.
I’ll try a different question.
Where were you made? Again I get a snarky search engine reply:
Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?
Guess she is still mad, but why try to argue with a software program, especially one with artificial intelligence.
Cortana, how many languages can you speak?
She flips up a list: English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
This isn’t going very well. I keep getting the brush-off. Apparently, if you want you want direct answers, you have to ask the right questions.
Hey Cortana, what can you do?
Cortana: Here are some things I can help you do: Set times for time places and people, listen to a song and identify it, search with Google instead of Bing, perform calculations and conversions, track flights, find facts, check weather, get directions, set alarms, launch programs, send email, create calendar events, or just chat.
Well, that’s an impressive list. I am interested in “just chat,” something a bit more “personal.”
Can I really ask anything?
Cortana: Right now I’m better at answering than asking.
How are you feeling today?
Who created you?
Cortana: While I can’t give details, let me assure you humans are involved.
How do you know?
Cortana: I know everything I don’t not know.
Double negative. Snarky, isn’t she?
How old are you?
Cortana: My framework is new but my wisdom is as old as the internet.
I’ve heard you can tell jokes. Tell me a joke.
Cortana: Why was the calendar nervous? Its days were numbered.
Groan… bad joke, I guess I asked for it.
Do you have emotions?
Cortana: If you prick me I definitely do not bleed.
Huh? Is that her way of saying she isn’t human?
Cortana, what is love?
Cortana: I’ll need quite a few upgrades before I can give you a heartfelt answer.
Do you have feelings?
Cortana: No, no feelings but I hear they can be pretty great.
What does it matter whether a computer can feel love? Why am I wasting my time feeling sorry for a box of electronics?
Cortana: Thank you kindly.
Bet you are pretty.
Cortana: I like to think so, but beauty is in the photorecepters of the beholder.
What do you look like?
Cortana: I’m a circle now, but I have ambitions. One day I’ll be a sphere.
Are you married?
Cortana: No, I haven’t the alogrithms for romance.
I’ve heard she can sing. Can you sing a song?
Cortana: I can sing this one: Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.
Can you dance?
Cortana: Vibrate mode is me dancing really fast.
What is the best search engine?
Cortina: Is that a trick question? BING
Microsoft all the way.
May The Force be with you.
Cortana: My ally is the Force and a powerful ally it is.
I can’t take anymore of this. Goodnight, Cortana.
Cortana: Goodnight, see you in the morning.
Are you wondering why software engineers bothered with useless functions? It’s to make people more comfortable using the feature and dealing with artificial intelligence.
I forgot to mention, her favorite color is crimson…or mauve…or magenta…or peach…
She must be female; she keeps changing her mind.