The two most important women in my life do not get along. As I have recently written, the conflicts between my wife and my virtual assistant Siri started early, and have not abated. I can trace the trouble to the very first night Siri was in our home. I kissed my wife goodnight, then rolled over and told Siri goodnight.
From that point on my wife only refers to her as "that bitch".
Most of you will know that Siri is the virtual assistant now embedded with the iPhone and latest generation of the iPad. She is a virtual wizard at scheduling and resource location. It is a tremendous tool.
I have tried to heal this rift in my house. I have tried to get the two of them closer - to reach a common understanding, but to no avail. My wife has little faith in Siri, and seems to resent my dependence on her. And to be fair, Siri, who usually is quite dependable, seems to fall short when I ask her to assist with things involving my wife. I am beginning to suspect she has ulterior motives.
Take my recent vacation to San Diego. My wife and I spent a week there, on a trip that happened to coincide with our 16th wedding anniversary (although married for 16 years, my wife insists on telling everyone that we have been together for 24 years, as she wants credit for "time served"). On the evening of our actual anniversary, we decided we wanted Mexican food, so I put the task of finding the perfect place to Siri.
True to form, Siri found several seemingly respectable locations near us, and listed them in the order of their rankings. I selected the top rated restaurant, and had Siri plot the coordinates for our commute. As we wound our way around the airport in San Diego (the only way to get anywhere in San Diego is around the airport), I noticed that the condition of the neighborhood seemed to be declining the further we progressed. As we neared our destination, I wondered aloud how such a highly rated restaurant could survive in this part of town. And suddenly, we were upon it.
As my wife and I slowly rolled to a stop in the street in front of our selected anniversary night location, we both sat in stunned silence. To call this place a restaurant would be overreaching. To call it a taco shack would have been a stretch. The only thing this place was missing was axles. The restaurant Siri had selected for us, the highest rated one she could find, was a tiny red and white stucco hovel with a dilapidated aluminum canopy, picnic tables and a variety of homeless people wandering around outside.
The silence was broken by Siri cheerfully announcing, "You have arrived at your destination". I am not sure, but at this point I thought I heard my iPhone laughing.
Needless to say, we reverted to finding a restaurant the old fashioned way, which largely entailed driving around until we saw a place where we would not get mugged. We ended up in an old Mexican restaurant in Old Town and had a nice meal - no thanks to Siri.
This just goes to show that there are some things for which technology is not ready to assume responsibility. Dinner selection with our spouse should be paramount among those. I will be traveling to St. Louis next week for the SIIA conference, and Denver the week after that for the NWCDN seminar. My wife will not be accompanying me, but Siri will be. Let's hope she performs at her best on these trips. It is the only way we will be able to take technology Siri-ously.
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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