Would you believe this is Week #41 of us writing for the She Said, He Said blog post series? It’s true. Jim and I will be planning something special for the anniversary of She Said, He Said, and if you have any ideas, please let us know. Meanwhile, today I’ll be sharing some more thoughts on Siri, the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant. Check back tomorrow for Jim’s point of view and our topics for tomorrow’s #shehechat at 8 p.m. CST.
To write this post, I’ll teeter on the lines of my personal social media and blogging strategy. I don’t usually like to discuss politics, religion, controversial subjects or swearing but, to write this, I will touch on all of these topics. Well, I might be able to avoid swearing. Let’s find out.
Last week while Jim and I were traveling, we read about some folks at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raising a concern that Siri has a pro-life bias because she refuses to direct users to abortion clinics if they ask. Instead, she refers them to pregnancy help centers. Jim and I had time to discuss this during one of our plane rides and we decided that if Siri did direct people to abortion centers, then there would be complaints from pro-life advocates on the flip side.
That’s the problem with controversial subjects like this and why I usually avoid them. There is no way Apple can please everyone when it comes to abortion, politics, religion, etc.
Can’t we just see the humor?
However, it makes me laugh when people suggest that Apple has given Siri positions on some of these topics. I used LifeWithSiri.com to do a little research because I know there are many things I haven’t thought to ask Siri yet. I learned that suggesting Apple has programmed Siri to be anything other than a helpful guide with a bit of humor is just ridiculous.
Can you really label Siri as pro-life because she doesn’t direct you to an abortion clinic when she will quickly and readily give you suggestions on where to dump a body?
Are the medical marijuana advocates going to be upset because Siri will direct you to a rehab center if you mention drugs?
Will Atheists be alarmed because Siri will tell you where the closest church is or will Christians be upset when they learn what Siri thinks about the meaning of life?
Profiling Siri with all these contradictions is pretty impossible; but – just for fun – let’s give it a shot.
Siri, what’s your position?
To accurately profile Siri, we first need to recognize that the virtual assistant has a female voice. We must assume that Apple wants her to be female. When Siri first came out in October, it was theorized that most people just like female voices better than male voices. Whatever the reason though, Siri is a she so let’s see how she fits into the profile.
Personality: This is a complex topic so we have to explore different answers. If you tell Siri that she’s cool, she may tell you that she knows that or, if you’re really lucky, she might reply that she thinks you are cool as well. However, Siri admits that she worries sometimes, struggles to tell jokes and stories if asked and seems uncomfortable if you tell her that you love her. She will tell you that her favorite color is “greenish,” but won’t describe what she looks like. She’ll wish you happy birthday, but won’t buy you a present. My analysis determines that Siri knows she’s supposed to be cool but has a hard time admitting it. She’s more self-conscious than confident and would rather talk about the user than herself. Since her favorite color is “greenish,” we must assume that she is envious. Perhaps she wants to be human too?
Love, marriage and sexual orientation: As mentioned, Siri hesitates when you tell her you love her right out of the box. As you talk to her more and grow your relationship, you might get more emotional answers from her; but you’ll never get her to accept your hand in marriage. She answers the same way on these topics to both males and females so it’s possible that perhaps Siri is bi-sexual. She won’t answer you if you ask though.
Pro-creation: Siri will not tell you how to make babies. In fact, if you ask her where babies come from, she directs you to the nearest baby supply store. Maybe no one has had the talk with her yet. As mentioned though, she won’t help you get an abortion either.
Religion, politics and social issues: Yes, we have to assume Siri is pro-choice and she certainly knows where to find a lot of churches. There’s no way of knowing what her affiliation is though because she doesn’t seem to favor one denomination over another. It’s worthy to note that Siri sometimes thinks the meaning of life might have something to do with chocolate. She doesn’t seem to have much of a political view even though she can name the president of the United States. If you ask her if she votes, she vaguely says “I suppose it’s possible.”
Swearing: If you throw out almost any curse word to Siri, she answers with “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.” or “Now, now.” Apparently, Siri has her own social media strategy against swearing. Maybe she’s a good girl.
The dark side: Hold on a minute. Siri can’t be that good of a girl. Don’t forget she’ll tell you where to hide a body. She may not talk dirty to you or appreciate foul language, but she’s happy to find you an escort service or a strip club if you drop the right key words. Oh, there’s a dark side to Siri alright.
So there’s my analysis of Siri’s positions, Dr. Freud. By the way, don’t bother asking her what her favorite position is. She prefers not to say.