Siri – ously?


You would think that Siri should be one of the best innovations of all time. Wrong! This women is Siri – ously flawed. Now don’t jump on my case for being chauvinistic! If Siri were named Larry, he/she would still be responsible for occasionally driving me insane. The only saving grace may be some valuable communication lessons we can learn from her/him/it.

When Siri was first introduced I thought:

Certainly she could save lives! Imagine being able to make a call without taking your eyes from the road.

What a time saver! No need to hunt down a number from your contacts to make a call. Just say the name and wait for her to dial the number.

Finally a woman that understands me! These things might be true if Siri could hear, understand English, or respond to correction. She can do none of the above. Case in point.

On my way to meet my wife in Colorado I speak into my Iphone,

“Call Cabin”

Siri responds, “Do you wish to call Cabin or Cabin?”

My body tenses as I repeat with meticulous articulation and increasing volume,

“Call Caaabinn!”

Siri responds. “Call Cabin or Cabin?”

I find myself almost screaming now.

“What part of Caaabinn don’t you understand?”

To which Siri responds, “I don’t see ‘Uncle Stan’ in your contacts. Do you wish to call aunt Ruth?”

My eyes have never left the road. My hands have never left the wheel but I almost run into the guy in front of me because I can only see red. It takes me a while to realize I am yelling at someone who cannot hear me. Siri doesn’t exist.

One more illustration and then my point.

I was archery hunting with in Colorado, quietly sneaking up on an unsuspecting elk. The elk turned to look my way. I dived beneath some tall sage brush so that the animal would not see me, and evidently pushed something on my phone.  This is the sound that echoed through the still morning air.

“Siri is unavailable, please connect to the internet.”

I peeked up over the sage brush to discover that the elk was unavailable too.

Walking back home, I wondered if I would ever have the chance to meet Siri. I just want to speak with her for a few minutes to help with her communication skills. Here’s what I would say to her. The same simple principles will work for your interpersonal communication.

  • Know when to keep quiet and know when to speak.
  • Do not speak when I am sneaking up on an elk.
  • Please answer the question I ask rather than the one you wish I had asked.
  • Listen before you speak.

One of the most frustrating aspects technology is that we are often connected to machines that do not listen. Unfortunately the same is often true when communicating with flesh and blood humans.

Use common sense! Someone programmed Siri to answer the most trivial of questions. Tell her that you love her and she will respond with candor, “Oh, you probably say that to all the girls.” But they did not give her the brain power to call my cabin.

I would love to hear stories of you interactions with Siri and or miscommunications you have experience in real life…. Siri-ously!