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Why Siri is the worst best friend you'll ever have

kcharris's picture

Watching the TED Talks lecture in class yesterday made me think about Siri, the greatest and worst function of the iPhone 4s and 5. We were talking about how men who weren't great at chess worked with computers that weren't top of the line and how they beat the best computers and the best men. I have to admit that I got really distracted and started thinking about man's attachment to and reliance on technology. So for the sake of this discussion, let's take Siri. Apple essentially created a pocket secretary. Siri's great. You can dictate things to her, you can have her call you by a different name, and you can have her remind you of things. The iPhone 5 has expanded on these functions so you now can have her tell you results of sporting events and I think she might be able to translate things for you. The best attribute that Siri possesses is that she is immensely entertaining. I could ask her ridiculous questions all day and never get bored.

All of this is great but let's think about how and why we got here. Not all of us can afford a secretary. We forget things easily so we want to reminded of things. Personal planners are useful but that got outdated. Palm Pilots were great but then the Blackberry came out then Apple went a step above all of that. There is a literal voice to make you feel productive. How could you hate that? Well, Siri is also super annoying. Sometimes she doesn't listen well so then you're just yelling at your phone like a crazy person and Siri is still like "I'm sorry, I didn't get that" then you're like "Whatever Siri, I hate you". But guess what, you go back to her because you want to feel productive and technologically advanced. If we decide to define the success of life on level of productivity and ability to adapt to and effectively use technology, then basically we're the "worse" man with a ""worse" computer. Siri doesn't really make us more productive and advanced, we just feel more productive and advanced. We're working with her to get that feeling like how those two men worked with the computers to win the chess championship.

Anyways, hope that makes sense. Mostly, I love Siri and I've been trying to understand how I lived without her and why I ask myself how I lived without her.


alesnick's picture

being productive and advanced vs feeling productive and advanced

This distinction is interesting.  With respect to the chess game, the men actually won, so feeling and being successful were fused.  Your argument about Siri seems to be that "she" doesn't actually enhance productivity.  This makes me wonder how productivity is defined in different settings.  Where "producing" an appearance of being advanced is valued, I suppose Siri adds value.  What do you use Siri for?  Does this tool help you meet your goals (outside of marking yourself as with it technologically?