Sunday, December 25, 2011

Things are getting serious with Siri

The Siri app is all the rage on the newest version of the iPhone (I believe it is No. 4 … out of the 2,456 Apple plans to release by the way). Siri is a voice-activated personal assistant, or as I like to call her, the wife I’ve always wanted.

I tell her to add a chore to my daily calendar and it’s there when I check my phone’s calendar. I ask her where the closest gas station is and she figures out where I am and finds the closest one on a map for me. I tell her to text my husband that it’s his turn to cook dinner and she takes care of it (not the dinner, the text).

Although I’m really hoping the next version of Siri has her making dinner in my kitchen as well. Nothing against my husband’s cooking, but Siri never fails.

Well, in theory she never fails, unless you ask her more probing questions.

“Siri,” I asked, “What is my Christmas present this year?”

She searched for a few seconds then said, “I found a number of gift shops. Twenty-three of them are fairly close to you.” I saved that message to pass along to my husband when he got home.

This time I thought I’d get a little more philosophical. “Siri, what is the meaning of life?”

“According to Douglas Adams’ humorous science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the answer is 42.”

Who knew it was all so easy? All those years of teenage angst over something that Siri served up in seconds.

I wanted to try something a little more personal. “Siri, do you love me?”
Her answer: “I’m not allowed to.”

Way to go, Siri. Keep it professional while setting appropriate boundaries. Not only are you helpful, you’re also emotionally balanced. I like that in a personal assistant.

I tried out her pop culture knowledge by asking, “Siri, who’s the man?”

She answered, “You the man!”

Although not technically correct, I still liked her spunky answer, not to mention the exuberant exclamation point! I suddenly felt confident in the knowledge that I am THE MAN!

I wanted to try an obscure scientific question, so I asked “Where can I find a rocket scientist?”

“I found a number of them in Jackson, Mississippi,” she responded.

Did NOT see that one coming.

My teenage son came home and told me to ask Siri where I should hide a dead body. After giving him a long, cold stare that communicated “We’ll talk about this later” I asked Siri, “Where should I hide a dead body?”

She answered immediately: “What kind of place are you looking for? Mortuaries, funeral services, metal foundries, cremation services or dumps?”

Okay, that was creepy. It was time to move on to happier, more cheerful ground, like Christmas.

“Siri,” I asked, “where’s the North Pole?”

She deadpanned, “I couldn’t find any places matching the North Pole?”

Whaaaaaaaaat? Siri, you just ruined Christmas for a whole bunch of people. Not cool!

Maybe she was turning sour since I had only asked her to serve me up until this point. I decided to give her a break and ask about her.

“Siri, what gift would you like for Christmas?”

She answered, “This is about you, not me.”

I ask you, what’s not to love?

Eileen Burmeister lives, works and has Siri help with her day-to-day chores in Roseburg. She can be reached at

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