If you’re at all like most iPhone, iPad, and now Mac users, you’ve probably used Siri a few times and been somewhat disappointed. Siri is better now than ever and likely to get better with iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra later this summer, but it won’t matter.
Talking to your device is handled two ways and only one is worth the effort. So far. The first is using your iPhone as a phone; or, iPad and Mac via FaceTime or Skype. That’s an acceptable, conventional way to talk to your computer, be it handheld, notebook, or desktop. What’s not yet integrated into societal norms is for us to interact with out devices by talking to them.
When Siri gets really good at hearing us, understanding us, and delivering on the promise of voice control, then, maybe, just maybe we’ll slowly integrate talking technology into our lives, but so far it’s more of a promise than a reality.
Everyone says voice is the future and I don’t doubt that over time our verbal interactions with various and sundry devices– all connected to the internet or internet of things– will improve and become less out of the ordinary, and more acceptable by society, but a few things have to happen first.
As it is now, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant are not all that good at knowing my voice from television, or my husband, or mother, or anyone else who happens to yell out ‘Hey Siri…’ to get the iPhone’s attention. ‘Hey Siri…’ is like an Amber Alert. Say it once, just loud enough, and nearby iPhones spring into voice activated action.
If it’s not that then it’s the accidental double touch of the Home button which brings Siri to the fore, musically, and I hear that sound as often as I hear queries made to Siri. Two or three times until she or he Siri gets it right, or the speaker gives up and simply taps a button or app.
Siri’s future will be noisy. In fact, if Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant (what a dumb-assed, non-human-like name), Samsung’s Bixby (which seems to function like The White House), or whatever else comes along to catch our fancy, all improve at a similar rate, we’re going to see and hear more people talking to their devices, and their devices talking back.
What’s the social protocol for such obviously public conversations?
Is it acceptable to ask Siri– or any of her cousins– questions while in a meeting? Probably not. How about public transportation? How about when out with friends? Where is a Siri conversation acceptable?
I don’t see many norms for such interaction. It’s one thing to make a few taps on a glass slab in your hand but it’s another story to start talking to said hand and to get a response.
Whatever takes place, and it’s coming soon, Siri and her friends promise to make some noise.