Saturday, October 15, 2011

iPhone 4S intelligent agent, Siri

Siri's house

Yesterday I got an iPhone 4S. It has an AI interface called Siri. I am living in the future.

To access Siri, all you have to do is raise the phone to your ear. It chimes. You ask it something like, "Where am I?" and it presents a map with a red pin showing your exact location. You ask it, "What's the temperature?" and it says, "It is currently 52 degrees outside." You say, "Email Kelley," and it says, "What's the subject of your email?" It will take notes, do long division, and tell you the capital of France, without any typing involved.

I'm carefully saying 'it' because if you select English (United Kingdom) you get a male voice and if you select English (United States) you get a female voice. I'm guessing they use exactly the same algorithms, I'm guessing it's programmed with multiple answers to the most common questions. But on first pass, I'm getting a different attitude from each one.

Me: What's the meaning of life?
American Girl Siri: I find it odd that you would ask that of an inanimate object.

Me: What's the meaning of life?
American Girl Siri: I give up.

Me: What's the meaning of life?
English Boy Siri: I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens...

Me: Why did the chicken cross the road?
American Girl Siri: To get to the other side, ha ha.

Me (getting punchy): Open the podbay doors.
English Boy Siri: That's it, I'm reporting you to the intelligent agents' union for harassment!

Is this gendered? Is this cultural? Is there really any difference at all? It's surreal.

Oh, and the phone has a great camera. I'm sure you'll be relieved that I'll no longer be subjecting you to crapcam.

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