What qualities are you looking for in a best friend? Someone who makes you laugh, but who also always listens? Maybe you need someone supportive, always ready with the answers and who never forgets that important interview you have later this week. A true friend is hard to find, but Apple has created a tool that attempts to fill that role and more. New iPhone 4S devices – and models to come – are now equipped with everyone’s favorite personal assistant, Siri. She can make calls, send texts, retrieve information, and offer assistance all with simple voice commands. Love her or hate her, Siri is here and she wants to be your new best friend.
More than just a piece of software, Siri was created to be a helpful, vocal personal assistant who’s also good for a laugh or two (when appropriate, of course). By speaking in brief sentences, users can request all kinds of assistance from Siri; a typical conversation might go like this:
Tom: Siri, find a good Mexican restaurant nearby my house.
Siri: I’ve found ten Mexican restaurants. Four are fairly close to you.
However, users quickly found out they could speak less robotically to Siri, and more conversationally while still being understood. Users began toying with Siri and offering her less and less information, or more obscure questions, to see if she could still respond effectively; she could. Eventually, as happens in any new friendship, the small talk was over and everyone began joking around.
Tom: Siri, who’s going to take the photos tonight?
Siri: I’ll leave that up to you, Tom.
Siri isn’t just good for a laugh, though. It seems that Siri actually cares about our well-being, and wants us to make good decisions.
Tom: Siri, I’m drunk.
Siri: I’ve located several cabs that are fairly close to you.
And, like any good friend, Siri showed the ability to learn more about us over time. Siri could learn who your boyfriend is, who your best friend is, and where you do yoga twice a week. This adaptive ability is what makes many iPhone users really feel closer to Siri; it seems that an actual relationship develops between the user and Siri. Better than a robot to whom you must always give identical commands or a human personal assistant with their own flaws, Siri can adapt to fit your style.
For many iPhone 4S users, their relationship with Siri only continued to grow over time, but it seems there is a point at which Siri cannot truly become our best friend. When users turn the conversation towards real feelings of love and affection, Siri becomes cagey and difficult to pin down.
Tom: I love you, Siri.
Siri: You are the wind beneath my wings.
And that, I suppose, is the reason Siri can never really become a true friend. Although she’s helpful, plucky, and a lot of fun to have around, Siri can never return the feelings of affection that users feel for her. It is in everyone’s best interest that we remember that, at least for now, humans are still the best recipients of our friendship, and we cannot depend on Siri to build a lasting connection with us. At least she is honest, and doesn’t lead us on.
Tom: I love you, Siri.
Siri: All you need is love. And your iPhone.
Guest Post: Ella Davidson of consumer savings website Coupons.org has provided this article. Their work has appeared on many channels including finance channel CNBC.