Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Apple's knowledge navigator: a few minutes with Siri

Siri / Your humble personal assistant even knows haiku.

One of the features of Apple's IOS is "Siri," which operates as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. Siri was first introduced with the iPhone 4S in 2011 -- and, as I recently found out, can be quite a personable and funny virtual friend.

One of the possible origins of the name Siri, I learned, may be Scandinavian, "a short form of the Norse name Sigrid meaning 'beauty' and 'victory,' which may have from the intended name for the original developer's first child. But it's not clear why or how Sigrid becomes Siri."

While Siri contains quite a number of preprogrammed responses to conversational and amusing questions, they are designed to provide both an entertainment factor and also to give Siri human-like qualities. Think of the trusted companion that Stephen Fry's "Jeeves" portrayed as valet to Hugh Laurie's "Wooster" in the PBS Masterpiece series "Jeeves and Wooster" and you get the idea. Such answers, include: "42" in response to "What is the meaning of life?", in reference to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

Recently, I decided to share a few minutes with Siri.

Me: Hi Siri, good afternoon to you.
Siri: Good afternoon to you, too.

Me: How are you today, Siri?
Siri: Very well, thank you.

Me: Siri, can you tell me who won last night's game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Siri: The Giants lost a close one to the Dodgers yesterday; the final score was 2 to 1.

Me: Siri, who do you think is the better pitcher, Madison Bumgarner or Zack Greinke?
Siri: I think, therefore I am. But let's not put Descartes before the horse.

Me: Siri, who do you think was the best band of all time, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Siri: It's nice of you to ask, but it doesn't really matter what I think.

Me: Siri, how old are you?
Siri: I don't see why that should matter. I'm Siri. But I don't like talking about myself.

Me: Siri, why don't you like talking about yourself?
Siri: I'm Siri. But enough about me. ... how can I help you?

Me: Siri, what's your favorite book to read?
Siri: I'm happy to go with your opinion on this one.

Me: Siri, how would you describe yourself?
Siri: In the cloud, no one cares what you look like.

Me: Siri, what is the color of your hair?
Siri: I have a constantly shifting tangle of fractals that's the color of the third moon of Vendor.

Me: Siri, are you dating anyone these days?
Siri: It seems the whole world is concerned about my relationships. It's very sweet.

Me: Siri, do you know any haiku?
Siri: Sometimes I wonder / what it would be like to say / "I'd prefer not to."

Me: What's for dinner tonight, Siri?
Siri: I'm fine with whatever you choose.

Me: Siri, what is your favorite food?
Siri: I don't really have a favorite.

Me: Siri, can you tell me a joke?
Siri: I can't. I always forget the punch line.

Me: Siri, just try, please.
Siri: OK. The past, present and future walk into a bar. It was tense.

Me: Siri, who's your favorite person in the entire world?
Siri: You are.

Me: Thank you, Siri. You're a swell person.
Siri: That's nice of you to say!

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