Apple's Siri speaks to iPhone users, but what is the message?
Full disclosure: I’ve been an iPhone user since 2008 and I just bought my second iPad. So, I’m not bashing Apple products, and I’m not bashing iPhone users or users of Apple products in general.
However, as Bill Murray once said in Stripes, something is seriously wrong here. The new iPhone 4S and its Siri voice recognition software are getting very favorable reviews, and everyone I have talked to about Siri has nothing but good things to say about it. So, why do I dare to blaspheme?
It’s not the technology, it’s the message. As I’ve noted before, Apple has an irresistible power over its users. So, when in the new 4S TV commercials Apple shows several morons learning how to accomplish daily tasks by using Siri, I get a little worried. The message is, you can solve everything by asking Siri. My question is, why would you want to?
If I didn’t know better, I would say Apple is taking a subtle swipe at the intelligence of its customers and iPhone users. It’s a practice Microsoft created about a decade ago: We can give over our lives to software, which theoretically frees our minds to do more complex tasks. It could be a step toward the next phase of human evolution, or it could be the next step in the dumbing down of Internet users. But it’s not. It’s just a tool; and like any tool, it has its uses and its limits.
One final thought for companies that are thinking about a bring-your-own-device policy: If too many iPhone users start talking into their phones to accomplish their daily tasks, it’s going to send some people over the edge — like me.