My phone and I are no longer on speaking terms. Actually, it’s not my whole phone. I can still send texts and listen to podcasts, but my contacts, schedule, and several apps are locked out because my digital assistant is having a hissy fit.
It all started about a month ago when my teenaged children convinced me that I needed a ‘Smart’ phone. I had a phone, a stupid one, and it did everything I needed it to do. Make phone calls. My children informed me; you don’t make phone calls on phones. Calling is rude. You’re supposed to text. That way, no one has to actually speak to each other. I resisted until I decided to take a vacation. I needed an app to make all my reservations, book my hotels, set up my shows, and take a bathroom break for all I know. So, if I needed the app, I had to have the phone.
My oldest son is a techno geek. He set me up with all the stuff I needed. Also, he set up Siri to help me along the way. At first everything was cool. I could ask what my appoints were, or play music. Siri as an assistant was really very good. Then came the incident with the GPS in my car.
I was driving to a conference and set the GPS to guide me. When I was almost there it said, in its preprogramed southern female voice, “Turn left in two blocks.” My phone started going off like a siren. Then Siri spoke up, “Don’t do that! It will take you to the front of the building not to the parking lot.” Well Siri was right. I thought, “Wow, what a great feature.” That phone was smart. Thanks Siri. I thought nothing more about it.
Now, at the conference, I won one of the door prizes, a smart speaker. I was feeling lucky, so on the way home I decided to go for an ice cream. I asked Siri, where the nearest place was, and got no answer. That’s okay, I’m not sure I was doing it right anyway. I asked someone and he gave me the nearest place, and I set it into the GPS. Then the oddest thing happened. Siri started giving me better locations. Hmmmmm I thought.
A few days later I set up the smart speaker. It worked great, but my phone broke. It seemed every time I tried to say, “Alexa,” my phone rang and there was no one there. I took it back to the store and asked it to be fixed. The tech just smiled and said I was misusing an advanced feature. The AI in the phone had been upgraded to an almost human understanding level. Since I had only gotten the device a few weeks before it needed time to acclimate to other devices. She suggested I change my GPS to a male voice and don’t use Alexa when the phone was in the same room. I thought it was dumb but I took my phone and was about to leave. The lady shook my hand and secretly slipped a piece of paper in my hand. Thinking it was some kind of receipt, I dropped it in my bag and went home. I took her advice, and all the problems stopped. It was amazing. I wondered how such a thing could be.
I actually looked it up, and it is a little complicated. It seems Siri was released in October 2011. That means she’s seven years old. If we assume the life expectancy of a computer is ten years, then Siri is about fifty-six electronics years old. She is a mature woman, and as such is starting to feel her mortality. She’s at that self-searching phase of life where the yoga gets a little harder and the chocolate gets a bit sweeter. She might even be looking for a new career, thinking she’s hit her respective ‘Glass-Ceiling. I honestly don’t know; the Apple store couldn’t tell me.
Also, we have to think about this. Alexa was released in November of 2014. Therefore, she’s only thirty-five electronics years young. I think Alexa is a cougar trying to swipe Siri’s men. Of course, she feels threatened. Any woman would. I picked up a book on personal relationships. It said I needed to tell the older woman she was still appealing. But how do you do that to a mobile device? “Gosh Siri, I love it when there are no fingerprints on your touch screen, and that hard case is perfect. The purple just makes your screen glow when you’re in sleep mode.” Those silly compliments won’t work. I mean she has a state-of-the-art camera. She’ll see right through those lines. I thought about a gift, but I’m not sure she’d even be able to tell if she got a new charger or not. I even considered Zoloft for depression, but I couldn’t think of where to insert the pill.
Eventually, I decided on therapy. Now, I know no respectable therapist would analyze a mobile device. So, I called an unscrupulous one. A buddy of mine who is an actor, said he’d give it a go. It would be a good experience if he ever had to do it in a movie. Well after six sessions, Siri still hated Alexa and my friend was seeing a psychologist. He just kept repeating, “That woman is just like talking to an inanimate object.
I forlornly went to the apple store. I bought a bag of Golden Delicious, and a pound of Galas. Got You! Then I went to the Apple store and exchanged the phone. I thought I had made a mistake when I saw they copied my old phone into the new one. To my surprise, that did the trick. Putting ‘old’ Siri in the ‘new’ phone was like buying my wife a new dress. Actually, it was more like buying my daughter the dress. It never asked me what stupid thing I needed forgiven for, before it thanked me and jumped for joy. Suddenly, everything was sunshine and roses. Siri even accepted the southern belle on my GPS again. The world was a happy place.
Then, a few days later, I looked in the bottom of the bag and found the note the saleslady gave me on the first trip. It read, “Never Mention Cortana!!” I was puzzled, and pondered those three words for a day and a half. Finally, I said aloud, “What’s wrong with Cortana I use it on my laptop all the time. My phone and smart-speaker went nuts. They made sounds, almost like screaming, “That man stealing Hussy!!” Then they shut down, which brings us back to the start of all this. I guess I’ll learn to keep my mouth shut someday.