Apple is reportedly looking for someone to script new responses for its virtual voice assistant, Siri. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin gave up on Siri months ago, but the potential update inspired him to talk to Siri again to find out if she really does needs more character.
Rumor has it Siri, Apple’s virtual voice assistant, may soon get sassier.
On Thursday, the blog 9to5Mac reported a job listing on Apple’s site seeking a “uniquely creative individual.” Apple is looking for someone capable of developing and writing original dialog and helping to evolve Siri “as a distinct, recognizable character.”
Siri is already well known for her glib sense of humor. Ask her where to hide a dead body, for instance, and she will provide a list of nearby dumps and swamps. Siri made her official iPhone debut with the iPhone 4S in fall 2011 and quickly became quite the celebrity. Eventually, though, many iPhone users, including me, grew tired of—or angry with—Apple’s cheeky virtual assistant. Too often, she gives you attitude instead of information. Some even harbor grudges against Siri, including the guy who added this comment to the 9to5Mac post: “I would be most happy if Siri would just understand daily speech, and work on her attitude later.”
I don’t use Siri too often, but after reading about her potential personality upgrade, I bounced some questions off her.
Q: What is John Travolta’s worst movie?
To my delight (and Travolta’s dismay), Siri produced a list of his films sorted from lowest Rotten Tomatoes score to highest. The answer: It’s a tie between Staying Alive (the Saturday Night Fever sequel) and Look Who’s Talking Now, a movie about talking pets. Amazingly, Battlefield Earth had a slightly higher score than these two bombs.
Q: How can I find inner peace?
I was hoping for instructions on how to make a perfect martini or something along the lines of, “By climbing Mount Everest.” But no. Siri mulled this question for a few seconds. Then she used a trick I’ve seen before: When you don’t know the answer to a question, ask a question yourself. Siri’s response: “Would you like me to search the Web for ‘How can I find inner peace?'”
Q: Do you meditate?
“A fine question. Now can we get back to work?” Maybe after her personality upgrade, Siri will chant “Ommmmmmm” instead.
Q: What is Honey Boo Boo’s real name?
Siri apparently loves tabloid TV, as she didn’t hesitate to supply the answer (via WolframAlpha): Alana Thompson.
Q: Will the San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday?
Though I was hoping for a rousing “Go Niners!,” Siri may have been hesitant to weigh in because I live in San Francisco now but used to live in Atlanta. At any rate, she simply provided me with the game schedule. Yawn.
Q: Are Android phones better than iPhones?
This was a great opportunity for Siri to show sass, something like: “Yes, if you like malware.” Siri dropped the ball, though, and just asked me if I’d like her to search the Web.
Q: Are you free tonight?
Siri’s response: “I have nothing on my calendar, if that’s what you’re asking.” Cute. Even cuter would have been: “Baby duck, something this good is never free.”
All told, I’d say Siri could use a little character development. But now a couple of questions for you, dear readers. Do you think Siri needs a personality upgrade? What’s the funniest or most unexpected response you’ve gotten from her?
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.