After some careful consideration the other day, I realized that the title of this article is the most accurate way to describe my relationship with our beloved Siri. However, I’ll advise that under normal circumstances (as in when it regards a real person with real feelings) it’s not healthy to think this way about somebody you consider a “friend”. But for Siri we’ll make a special exception.
I’ve never been an avid user of Siri. When the feature first debuted with the Apple iPhone 4S back in 2011 it was certainly a point of interest given that it was the most advanced of its kind. I got my very first iPhone (the 4S) shortly after release, and in my head I pictured myself using Siri all the time. However, I think my extended tried and true experience with Siri quickly put me in my place and I realized that a lot of things I normally used my phone for were either things that Siri couldn’t help me with, or things that I didn't really feel comfortable announcing around people.
I’m somewhat of a private person, especially when it comes to people I don’t know. If I’m standing in a crowd of people, I’m not going to dictate a personal text to somebody, or tell Siri to give me directions to a particular place. Even if it’s for something completely innocent, I find it truly awkward to hold a phone up to my face and ask it to do something mundane while obnoxiously letting everyone around me know what’s up. I get that in reality it’s not that big of a deal, but in my head I just can’t shake the feeling of awkwardness.
But Siri has come a long way since those initial days, including the fact that she can now change genders and nationalities if you want. The voice that was once only a candid American woman can also be the voice of a man from New Zealand, who apparently thinks I won’t understand jokes in his language (despite the fact that we speak the same language). But whatever, joke’s on you, man Siri – I didn't even want to hear a joke. I decided to just use the American woman so that she can understand my dialect better.
Despite the fact that Siri can do a number of things now that it couldn’t initially do, I still feel awkward using it anywhere outside of the home. Even inside the home I tend not to use Siri’s services. I’m generally quicker or more accurate in my mobile conquests when I go ahead and do the brief grunt work myself. Even today Siri manages to get a lot of my queries wrong, or doesn’t hear me correctly, even though I speak loud and clear near the microphone.
And as for other services like Google Now and Cortana, I still feel very much the same. I don’t think it helps that when you turn on voice activation for these services you have to say “Ok Google” or “Ok Siri” or “Ok” whatever; like, it seems natural, but you’re still talking to a phone. Maybe it’s just because I’m rude and don’t like to be cordial to robots, though. At least we all know who will be the first to go in the robot apocalypse. You’re welcome.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I believe my biggest problem is not having privacy with it, even if I have nothing to hide. I just don’t like having people all up in my biz, that’s all. Siri, and any other voice command system, is a “friend” better left for home.