Posts Tagged ‘Siri’

In response to things like Siri and Sync that respond to voice commands, I recently mentioned that technology can be useful in helping us navigate an increasingly complex technological world. Mitch Albom, on the other hand, is more concerned with voice commands staying off his lawn than he is with the ways that they may or may not be useful. Two paragraphs capture his crotchety perspective perfectly:

Conversations with a car should be one way only. And they should be limited to “Oh, come on, come on” (when it won’t start) and “You gotta be kidding me!” (every other problem).

Asking a car to find the nearest Belgian restaurant is not really what Henry Ford had in mind.

I’m sure that the other automakers of Ford’s day thought that producing a car that the multitudes could afford was similarly ridiculous. Of course, the actions that earned Ford a mention in Mein Kampf suggest that Ford might not be the best model for today’s behavior.

In Albom’s defense, Siri is not quite as helpful to regular people as she is to Samuel L. Jackson (via Daring Fireball).

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Given the multitude of features that today’s smartphones have, some may be surprised to see commercials featuring people holding their phones while talking. Not on their phones, of course, but to their phones (here is an example featuring Samuel L. Jackson). When I originally got my new phone I thought that the idea of talking to it was ridiculous and assumed that I would avoid doing so. What I’ve found, however, is that my new, touchscreen phone makes doing something like setting an alarm take three times as long as on my previous phone. In order to avoid the frustration of this process, I’ve found myself talking to my phone. It is much easier to say “set an alarm for 6:30 am,” for example, than it is to manually set the alarm.

Phones are not the only area where technology helps us overcome the challenges presented by technological convenience. My previous cars featured single-disc CD players. This required me to bring physical CDs with me when driving but made the process of selecting and changing music simple and straightforward. My current car has a six-disc CD changer but it also has a USB port that I use for a flash drive with digital copies of all of my CDs. Instead of having a few albums at my disposal when driving, then, I now have all of my albums. It is possible to access these by cycling through menus by artist and then album, but it is much faster (and safer, when driving) to simply tell my car what I want it to play.

As technology provides us with access to more things in more places, it also complicates our lives. Thankfully, technology also provides us with ways to simplify these complications. (Unless there is a power outage and we’reĀ  left with neither.)

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