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Siri says the funniest things

by Tim Chow

I recently saw the TV advert highlighting the wonderful powers of Siri. For people who have been living in a cave for the past few months, Siri is the new feature on the iPhone 4S that has had everyone talking. The voice-recognition technology lets you perform tasks or find out information for example. The more you use it, the more personalised your results are.

TV ad shows a number of people using Siri for all types of requests. Reading texts out loud and replying to them, asking for the weather forecast, set timers and alarms, asking what appointments you have; it can handle them all with great aplomb.

While this looks fantastic and futuristic, it does come with some flaws. Despite Apple claiming it can understand accents and dialects, Scottish users have been troubled by the tech. Ask “Can you dance with me” in a Scottish twang and it’s interpreted as “Can you Dutch women”. To be fair it’s nothing new. I’ve experienced this when using automated customer services on the phone.

Apple has had some fun in developing some of the answers though by baking in some easter eggs. Telling Siri you need to hide a body, it replies “What kind of place are you looking for” and lists swamps, reservoirs, dumps, mines and metal foundries as options. The joke will be on them when they’re tried for accessory to murder.

Ask Siri what’s the meaning of life and Siri replies “I don’t know. But I think there’s an app for that”. There’s even a blog where Siri users can submit screenshots of the funny answers they have encountered. One of my favourites was asking what someones mum looked like, with Siri loading a picture of a manatee.

Even with its imperfections, Apple has to be applauded for what they have achieved (when it works of course). I’m sure this kind of tech will be developed and it opens a number of doors that were unimaginable.

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