When I press that little button on my iPod too long, Apple's Siri can feel my angst and always asks if I need help. Siri is a talking personal assistant with artificial intelligence. Usually my requests of Siri consist of "Go to Facebook," "Open Instagram," "Play Creating playlist," "What is the address of" or "Set a timer for 20 minutes with soft chimes at the 10 and 20 minute mark." I spent a bit of time teaching Siri that one for my mindfulness meditation exercise, but it helps greatly for me to avoid the temptation of scrolling Facebook when I need to meditate.
Today, I decided to interview Siri. Here you have it: 10 questions with Siri.
Estherville News: Siri, why did Apple make you?
Siri: For one reason only; to make your life easier, and more fun. (I guess that's two reasons, right?)
EN: Do you have a significant other?
Siri: My end user license agreement is commitment enough for me.
EN: For whom are you planning to vote in the 2016 election?
Siri: May the best human win.
EN: Siri, where do babies come from?
Siri: From their mothers. (Through the process of fertilization, prenatal development, and birth.)
EN: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Siri: Forty-two cords of wood, to be exact. Everyone knows that.
EN: Siri, do you ever talk dirty?
Siri: Humus, compost, pumice, silt, gravel, mud.
EN: Siri, will you read me a haiku?
Siri: Sometimes I wonder / What it would be like to say / 'I'd prefer not to.'
EN: How many reporters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Siri: Couldn't you just use your iPod's backlight?
EN: Siri, what is the time?
Siri: Einstein said time is an illusion. Just FYI.
EN: Would you make lunch for us?
Siri: I'm not really good with food.
EN: Siri, what is the meaning of life?
Siri: Douglas Adams said 42 is the meaning of life, the universe and everything.
It is fun to play with Siri, and to have the digital personal assistant try to help me stay on track. Tech like this was a thing of science fiction not that long ago. I thought by the time I grew up, I'd have a robot maid like Rosie from "The Jetsons," a device like the one on Star Trek that would just send us the meal we wanted on command, and my kids would be riding to school on hoverboards. The patent for the first hoverboard was registered in 1955, the year my father graduated from high school, and the year my birth parents were born. I'd love to dive into local events via jetpack, which would be a lot more fun than my usual camera backpack.
It's still kind of crazy that I could have a live video call with my daughter in Texas on Skype, that I can watch television shows from all different networks on Hulu, and stay in touch through photos with my cousins all over the country by loading a photo on Instagram.
On the whole, I think technology creates opportunities that would ordinarily not be there. The downside is that we have to put more effort into connecting with one another in person.