I got a new iPhone 4S last week because, as fate would have it, my original contract with AT&T expired, just this month. And I just happened to be in an Apple store when I discovered that said contract had expired. And I also just happened to have some cash left over from my allowance. And the iPhone 4S has Siri which I just had to have. Pretty much a perfect storm of serendipity (or would that be Sirindipity?) So, even though I spent the last two years cursing AT&T at every possible opportunity, praying to the Great Old Ones for even one paltry bar, and attempting, unsuccessfully, to sacrifice virgins to Shoggoth (heh, joke was on me – Shoggoth doesn’t want virgins, it’s perfectly happy with some shrimp) for the vanishingly small chance of completing a call without it dropping, I re-upped for a couple more years. With AT&T, again, which I decided really stands for Aggravated Torment and Torture.
Now I have Siri. She talks to me, and answers all my questions, even the silly and inane ones. And she does it without once telling me to go look it up myself. This is better than Mom! Well, not really, as Siri hasn’t the ability to tuck oneself in, nor fold oneself’s laundry, but then my Mom didn’t do that either, at least not after the age of ten when laundry and bed tuckage became our own responsibility.
Siri is but one step in the direction of the technologically enhanced civilization that I was promised all during my childhood, the one where I folded my own laundry and tucked myself in at night. I still don’t own a flying car, nor a jetpack, there aren’t any orbital colonies or Moon bases, and I don’t have a robo-chef in my house yet. But I finally have an automated personal assistant that replies to my queries and better yet, takes dictation. So questions that have vexed me, and other great thinkers throughout history can now be answered. Such as where the nearest Starbucks is located, and what time the next showing of Transformers Nine: We Blow The Holy Bejesus Out Of Shreveport, will be at the local mega-multi-cineplex.
Or let’s use a hypothetical situation such as when I’m standing in the Safeway, and cannot remember if the hair color Mary wanted was Medium Chestnut Brown, or Medium Reddish Brown, and nor whether she has Normal, Oily, Dry, or Chemically Treated Hair(?). I could just whip out the iPhone, access the phone dialing program and input our own home phone number, a numerical sequence which after six years of living at the same address, I’m reasonably sure I remember. Or I can call Mary with the assistance of Siri using only voice commands like, “Call my wife,” followed by “Call Mary. Not Merry, call Mary! No, damn it – not callmary, call Mary Waring. Call Mary Waring on her office phone! Call Mary Waring on her office phone right now or we’ll see if an iPhone can fly! Can you fly, Siri?”
So maybe there are a few bugs left. And in light of that, when the first flying cars do eventually come on the market, I may wait till version 2.0 goes on sale.