You Cannot Be Siri-ous

All Hail the iPhone 4s !

Well, the newest, shiniest, grooviest Apple gadget has finally arrived and such is the excitement that online order times are estimated to take at least a fortnight to process.

So what’s it all about?  Well, apparently, we all need Siri – the very latest in interactive oojahmaflip.  Siri, it is said, is The Ultimate in gadget wizardry.  It’s the PA in your pocket, the Genie in your jeans.  Simply speak to your phone and Siri will Know And Understand your Every Need!

No.  Not making it up.  This is The Truth according to Apple (as embodied in St. Steve’s Letter to the Universe, Chapter 21.1: ‘And I saw a new iPhone and a new earth; for the iPhone 3s and the earth [v.?? God to advise] were passed away; and there was no more C. Or C++. But only sqlite. And endless artifacts of forensic fascination…’)

With its innovative speech recognition technology, Siri opens up hitherto unimagined channels of communication, finally bringing the art of conversation into the 21st century.

I mean, you can now talk to your phone, for Pete’s sake!  It will be your best friend.  The need to express and make oneself understood by some other, superfluous and utterly idiotic human, will be completely unnecessary!  C’mon.  How cool is that?

Quite apart from the obvious immediate benefits – e.g. fewer frayed nerves, less time spent banging head on desk in frustration – this technology is set to have a deeper impact on society in general.  No longer will we need to worry about body language or finding just the right words!  Sartorial choices will also become a thing of the past. What can’t be seen can’t be judged, after all.

And there’s even more good news for those who have already embraced our digital future. Feelings of isolation caused by endless hours of online chat unrelieved by genuine meetings in person will now be assuaged!  No-one will ever need to feel alone again.  For your iPhone will be always with you, sharing your hopes and fears, finding an answer to all your problems.

So much for the blurb, at least.  Very nice.  But have the Vision Makers really thought through the unique difficulties that the English language (like what She is spoke) might throw into the mix?

Here, for the benefit of several readers, we imagine what (unfortunately) may become some typical interchanges with the Beta edition –

e.g. The Famous:

HM The Queen:  ‘What shall We do about the Heir Apparent?’

Siri: ‘Facial hair apparent?  That sucks!  But there are clinics that deal with this type of thing  – hundreds of them close to you in Harley Street, London. You want I should list some?’


Cameron: ‘Check the verity of that sudden rise in stocks! ‘

Siri: ‘Check Werritty and the sudden demise of Fox? Gee, this is news to 10 Downing Street?’


Mrs T: ‘I’m 86 and still a big Tory! ’

Siri:  ‘1986 big story?  First case of Mad Cow Disease found in UK cattle.’


Elmo: ‘I’m worried about Dorothy.  Is it OK to have a fish for a best friend?’

Siri: ‘Maybe it’s time you came out properly, Sweetheart. Lots of Gays have fish friends and they can be very supportive. Here’s some movies that may help…’


And for the more ordinary mortal:

Frustrated, pencil-wielding UK writer: ‘No!  More mistakes! Where can I get a rubber?’

 Siri: ‘That bad, huh? Well, lucky for you there’s a drug store right on the corner…’


Innocent Brit in NY hotel: ‘Where can I find lifts?’

Siri: ‘You kidding?  They went out in the ’70’s.  And that would be last century...’


Even more Innocent Northern bird telling story of having been rudely awakened by a neighbour urgently hammering on the front door:  ‘The daft devil only knocked me up at two o’clock in the morning !’

Siri: Complete silence. There is no known US software which can deal with this type of statement.



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