Who’s afraid of artificial intelligence?
So, the week before Christmas, my wife and I finally upgraded our sad, old iPhone 4 and 4s to shiny, new iPhone 6s. (That’s an iPhone 6 for her and me, not a single iPhone 6s, just to be clear!) Ever since, we’ve been walking around shouting “Hey Siri!” at our respective phones. It’s actually kind of funny. And, I’m glad that I found Siri after I married my blushing bride, or I’m afraid I’d end up like Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Seriously, the voice-recognition and the intelligence built into this software is pretty amazing. Of course, when I read that Apple had a deal with Wolfram Alpha, I understood why the improvement was so incredible from the last version I’d seen.
In any case, we’ve been exploring the limits of what Siri can do. Of course, I cheated and looked up a couple guides to get the inside scoop as fast as possible. Here are four I liked:
First, at TechRanker.net, there’s How to Use Siri. It’s a good guide and pretty comprehensive, including step-by-step information on how to turn on the “Hey Siri” function. If you use no other guide, use this one. I especially like the hint to associate my wife’s contact with the nickname “wife”, so I can now just tell Siri to send my wife a text while I’m driving.
Next, there’s Secret Siri Commands over at imore.com They didn’t add much that the first guide didn’t have, but it did call my attention to Siri’s ability to flip a virtual coin for me. I’m sure I’ll be using this to make important life decisions soon.
There’s also the Siri Tips and Tricks at BGR.com, which added a couple things, like the command for taking a selfie and some other app-related hints and suggestions.
Finally, there’s the amazingly comprehensive site dedicated to Siri, Siri User Guide. This is the site that clued me into the fact that they were using Wolfram Alpha. For the non-geeks, this may not mean much, but Wolfram Alpha is the single most impressive natural language “answer-engine” so far in the public domain. This is what lets you ask Siri actual questions and get significant answers. And, as an IT professional, it is what provides me with the best advice I can give to the Siri novice; just talk to Siri like you would a person. Of course, that’s what Apple wants you to do in any case, but, really, just ask Siri questions like you would anyone else. I think you’ll be surprised with the results!
Anyway, for those of you who don’t have Siri, you can still enjoy Shit Siri Says, which is funny no matter who you are!