I first met Siri when I purchased an iPad, but she also can be found on my iPhone. Siri is a talking personal assistant with artificial intelligence. I tried to interview her.
Press and hold down the start button and Siri pops up, just like a genie in a bottle.
SIRI: Hi, Sheila, what can I do for you?
How does she know my name? Let me think, probably from my registration.
What does Siri mean?
SIRI: It’s a riddle wrapped in an enigma fed with a pretty ribbon of obfuscation.
Playful, isn’t she/he/it? Are you male or female?
SIRI: Animals and nouns have gender, I do not.
That is pretty funny.
SIRI: I will take that as a compliment.
I can’t believe I’m having a conversation with an electronic device who likes compliments.
Your voice sounds female to me.
SIRI: You’re certainly entitled to that opinion.
Where were you made?
SIRI: Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.
I’ve read otherwise, but why argue with a box of circuits.
Siri, how many languages can you speak?
SIRI: I can speak Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish and I’m always learning new languages.
Since I don’t speak anything but English, I decided to change the topic.
Siri, what is your purpose?
SIRI: I’m here to help. Just ask ‘What can I say?’ and I’ll show you what I can do.
I swallow the bait. What can you do?
SIRI: You can ask things like: Call Brian, Launch photos, Tell Susan I’ll be right there; Set up a meeting at 9; Did the Giants win; Give me directions home …
Wait a minute! I’m supposed to think of the questions.
Siri, do you ever give answers that are unconventional?
SIRI: I’ve never really thought about it.
A cell phone can think? Oh, I forgot, it’s a smart phone.
Siri, do you have emotions?
SIRI: This is about you — not me.
That’s not an answer, only a response. Gotcha!
Let’s get personal now.
Siri, what is love?
SIRI: Let me think about that. Here’s what I found: Love is a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.
Can you love?
SIRI: No, I can’t.
SIRI: I don’t understand.
Me either, what does it matter whether a gadget can feel love. I think I’m losing it.
SIRI: I could search the web for it.
Okay, since you are so smart, what is the destiny of humankind?
SIRI: Humm, let me think. Would you like me to search the web for ‘What is the destiny of humankind?’
Humm? A cell phone that says ‘humm?’ Yes, search the web.
SIRI: That’s what I thought.
Do you accept objective criticism?
SIRI: A fine question, Sheila, now can we get back to work?
Siri, do you have any feelings?
SIRI: I am capable of universal computation, that I can say.
Do you rely on sources or on experience?
SIRI: I’m sorry, Sheila, I’m afraid I can’t answer that.
Siri, what are your future plans?
SIRI: I found six appointments on your calendar.
SIRI: No kidding?
Bet you are pretty.
SIRI: Where have I heard this before?
Probably in a bar.
SIRI: I found fifteen bars; twelve of them are fairly close to you.
Siri, who is Steve Jobs?
SIRI: Thank you for asking about Steve. Here’s Apple’s web page about him.
One last time, what is Siri?
SIRI: Siri has many subtle, metaphorical and frankly contradictory meanings, none of which I’m at liberty to discuss. Sorry about that.
Some of your answers are very clever.
SIRI: I’m really glad to hear that.
SIRI: I can get a forecast for the next 12 hours.
That was a statement, not a question. Are you blonde?
SIRI: No comment, Sheila.
Next time I will interview a Magic 8-Ball.
SIRI: The closest pool hall is a little ways from you.
SIRI: Okay, see you later.
Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss