Jackoatsmon's Blog

November 6, 2011

Kids and Technology

Filed under: Aspergers,Musings — jackoatsmon @ 3:15 pm

I was one of those that grabbed the iPhone 4S when it was released.  I actually had to queue twice as my spouse wanted one as well.  Took me hours to get it done.  We were both happy to get the new iPhone as both of our phones were starting to act up and it was time for a change.

The features have already been discussed over many forums and media reports so I won’t bother to go into them.  (This is not a technology writeup anyway.)

The most notable feature was, of course, the SIRI.  We got home and started asking it all sorts of ridulous questions (just like everyone else).  As adults, we knew that it was ultimately a piece of software and limited our questions accordingly.  What was amusing to me was having my son ask SIRI how to do certain things in all seriousness.  As his enunciation isn’t very good, I doubt that the question was ever properly captured in the first place and he finally gave up.  😦

What I did not expect to see was the situation which arose when my daugther, who has Aspergers, tried to give instructions to SIRI.  She had apparently tried to get SIRI to play a song for her but as SIRI could not really catch our local accent, it kept giving her the usual replies like “I do not understand” or “I am not able to”.  This upset my daughter so much that she broke down and cried because she felt that SIRI was being very rude to her.

Aspergers problems aside, it seems as though technology is finally starting to get to the point where it is able to appear to be an intelligent entity in its own right where humans expect that it would response to their words the way another person might.  Where will this leads us?  On one hand, we can look at the future as shown in the various Star Trek and similiar shows where the computer can execute commands given verbally.  On the other, we can look at shows like the Matrix.

Fortunately for me, I am likely to be dust before such a thing happens and I can still treat it as an interesting piece of fiction.  🙂

There is a podcast by the mr brown show spoofing SIRI that is very funny to those who know the culture for Singapore.  View it at http://clips.tojsiab.com/?w=simi or at http://mrbrownshow.com/ (6 Oct podcast).

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