March 15, 2017
Scott in In Trend

Siri: Creepy or The Future?

Whether it's adding an agenda item to your calendar, or simply making small chat with a bot, Siri, Google Assistant and the Amazon Echo have truly changed our lives. However, are they the way of the future, or just plain creepy?

If you ask an iPhone to divide by zero, request it to beatbox, or even inquire about the TV show Westworld, Siri can come up with all kinds of unique responses that will amuse even the saltiest of users. On closer review though, it can set a dangerous precedent. The technological capabilities of Siri and Apple (and not forgetting the Android counterpart) have gone far beyond simply setting an alarm or googling a question. Siri has been able to pull so much information from just our voice about our habits, feelings, needs and wants. She can store piles of information and is programmed to respond with the answers that the user is looking for, and all it costs is a quick question. 

Smart home

The older generation love how hands-free and simple it's all become, and how responsive voice technology has become. But the younger generation doesn’t know how to do things for themselves anymore. If something is broken, instead of being able to fix it, or trying to fix it, they just go to buy another. Because it’s cheaper and easier. This is the future. A disposable simpler world, where machines can predict what we need when we need it, and fulfill our requests and the swipe of a screen.

This future of AI can be seen as both good and bad. The autonomy of a person seems to disappear the more reliant they become on technology, leaving them somewhat helpless. They require online planners, and voice activated systems to help them, and the dependency starts to enter creepy territory. People can already lock their doors from a smartphone, set their alarm systems, and manage so many things on the go. By combining the voice recognition system along with these features, Siri can begin to manage our whole lives for us.

Now, on a different (non-Apple) note, Amazon and Google have created a new home system that can do a heap of things based purely on voice commands. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home are very useful, but also incredibly creepy advancements in AI. They respond to all voice commands that are sent their way, and are always listening. That means that if called, they will always respond. Now, with the new revelations that the CIA is tapping into SmartTVs to listen into houses, this is just one small step away from them being able to monitor everything from your smart home. This is an eerie situation, and not a far step from how Siri already manages people’s smartphone agendas and lives. Smartphones are an integral part of people’s lives in 2017, and Siri is in charge of making sure that all things are setup properly and knows all. This is all rather disturbing when you consider the implications for government surveillance.  

Smart phone

Now, Siri is in theory, not all bad. Siri must be initiated for her to respond and be listening, but technology companies are only a few small steps away from upgrading Siri to ensure she is always listening. Though alarming, Siri is unmatched in her ability to help out with so many tasks, such as setting alarms, reminders, opening programs and general handiness, that many can't imagine live with their little AI sidekick. She can respond to tasks, implement system changes and make your life generally easier. But whether you think that she is plain creepy, or simply the future, the fact is that she is both. AI is a doorway into the hair-raising future that has only previously been available in science fiction novels. The future is here. Her name is Siri, and she wants to know what she can help you with...

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