Siri, what’s your position? – Jim Says

As Shelby mentioned yesterday, this is Week #41 of our She Said, He Said series of posts. I suggest you read Siri What’s You Position? – Shelby Says post from yesterday before reading further because much of what I’m doing here is responding to her post. While Shelby’s post this week can standalone, mine is more of a companion piece.

Also, before getting into today’s post we wanted to let you know what this week’s topic will be for our 8 p.m. CST #shehechat on Twitter tonight. Since we’ve been telling Siri’s story for the last two days, we thought we’d address “How to you use social media to tell your story?” We feel it’s going to be a great topic so be sure to join us. Now, here are my thoughts on Siri’s positioning related to moral and ethical issues.


First, the image I chose to go with this post is my Siri finding the abortion clinic closest to my house. A week ago, Siri would not do that and, as Shelby mentioned in her post, the ACLU made a pretty big deal about it. So, the first lesson we’ve learned about Siri is that she is willing to adapt and change to meet the needs of her user base. This seems like a good way to go since the world is not black and white. Plus, all the fun happens in the shades of gray anyway.


Shelby thought you might be offended by some of Siri’s answers to “What’s the meaning of life?” I, for one, think “42” is a perfectly good answer. If you’re not sure which belief system embraces that answer, I’d suggest reading Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (Amazon affiliate link). Come on, people. I’m a Jew married to a Catholic. Can’t we all just get along and accept other people’s beliefs? My kid calls herself a CathoJew and it seems that’s the general approach Siri has chosen to take.

Let’s talk about Siri’s best position

Siri is at her best when the questions have to do with her ability to tap the iPhone 4Ss global positioning system capabilities. For example, take my first point about finding an abortion clinic. If that one’s too risque for you, try asking her where the closest escort service or strip club is, as Shelby suggested in her post yesterday. For some real fun, ask Siri to “take me home baby.” She will … well, at least she’ll provide the maps and directions to get you there.

I want Siri to be like Google

Censorship sucks. That’s my position. When I ask Google for just about anything, he finds it for me. My hope is that Siri adopts the same position as her brother of the intertubes. I hope she stands up to bullies like China who seek to censor her and just pull out of that market.

As time goes by, Siri should learn what I normally ask for and, if I go way outside my normal bounds, she might gently ask, “Are you sure that’s what you want?” It’s possible that with background noise she just misunderstood you. My iPhone 4S is a tool like a Swiss army knife. Please don’t dull one of the blades by censoring Siri’s positions based upon public opinion and pressure.

Joshua Garity
Joshua Garity

I'm curious. Did you personify Google as a male on purpose?

My thought is, Siri is a computer. Android has had that capability for the most part as well. If someone wants to talk to the phone and hope it schedules, locates, texts or emails the proper information I feel sorry for them.

How many of us know how to read a map? Do we still go to library's to research essays? Let's disconnect and realize Siri is nothing more than a party favor.

Jim Raffel
Jim Raffel

Yes, I personified Google as a male on purpose. It made the post more fun. That was the only reason.

Siri does all of the things you "feel sorry" for her doing for me quite well. She simplifies my life. I can speak faster than I can type. I can say "text Joshua hey buddy we need to get together for lunch" and she'll do it and do it right about 95% or more of the time. That saves me time. I can keep walking while asking her find a location or call ahead to someone. That's all useful stuff, at least to me.

Yes, I can read a map. But GPS with turn by turn spoken directions makes me a safer driver in unknown territory.

She's way more than a party favor. Although she does that pretty well too. She's a game changer. I thought that on day one and I still think it today.

Joshua Garity
Joshua Garity

Great job with the personification. :)

I like your examples, Jim. I've never thought of having the ability to walk and do those things at the same time. I do this with my Droid already but still stop to read it before sending, submitting, etc to verify the content.

I still don't believe Siri is a game changer. But I like the points you rose.

William Whatusk
William Whatusk

Gender issues aside, in my work environment, SIRI is no where near accurate enough to be used. I also pay close attention to the TV advertisements and print material for the iPhone4S with SIRI because when I try to say exactly what they do, she stumbles about 80% of the time and can't complete the task. I guess that is why she is still in beta.  

Jim Raffel
Jim Raffel

You make a great point that Siri is still in beta. I'm sure success rates vary greatly right now.