Tag Archives: siri

The great AI race is now on

The other day I got Bixby – Samsung’s virtual assistant – on my phone. My phone also has Google assistant while my laptop and tablet have Siri. I am surrounded by virtual assistants, possibly the precursors to AI (Artificial Intelligence if you have just arrived in civilisation). I’ll be honest, I keep forgetting to use them.

These days the news is full of stories about the rise of AI. Well, Trump, North Korea, Brexit and AIs. Everything is basically alarming and it is hard to know what to be most shit scared about next. Recently an AI beat the world’s best GO player, Microsoft made a chatbot that became racist frighteningly quickly and China made several chatbots that started to praise America and were shut down. So good and bad.

The other day Vladimir Putin gave a speech where he said that whichever nation leads in AI will be the ‘Ruler of the World’. This then prompted Elon Musk to tweet:

“China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.”

So pretty scary all round. Being a massive optimist, I don’t think it will necessarily be all doom. People often think Skynet from Terminator or the Cylons. I agree with Mr Musk that killer robots for the army are probably a massively stupid idea. We need to tread carefully and when I look at the people currently in charge, I can certainly see urge for panic. But with calmer more intelligent minds helping out maybe it will all be ok. If you look at the history of nearly everything – some things are great and some are shite, yet still, we humans persist.

An AI might be like in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – handy but mostly a bit annoying. Or like in Star Wars, where they can do robot stuff but are essentially like people (although in Star Wars, they are basically slaves which is bad). On a more positive spin, the AIs in Iain M Banks Culture novels are bloody great. In ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ robots and AIs are actually in charge and the aliens’ culture is massively better off. So who knows? It is going to happen and if you look at Trump, North Korea and Brexit, maybe we should welcome the robot overlords.

Maybe they have taken over already and we are all living in the Matrix. As long as I can drink beer, eat steak, travel a lot and play games, I am happy. All hail the robot overlords!

 

 

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Scottish iPhone 4s

I wrote recently about some pranksters reprogramming an iPhone 4s in a shop so that it swore at a kid. It was pretty damn funny. I then talked about Siri in general and how how it seems genuinely handy and can even help you find a place to bury a dead body or get a blowjob. More monthly events than daily, but still pretty cool.

My Scottish mate then informed me that it isn’t quite so helpful in Scotland. Apparently Siri, like the rest of the world, finds it hard to understand the Scottish accent. It doesn’t understand simple phrases like ‘Hoots! Hoots! Och aye the noo’ at all! (Apologies to any Scottish readers, I’m just having a laugh.) In case you don’t believe me, just watch this funny video.

 

iPhone 4S swears at a kid

 

The sassy new Siri

After the misery of my last post where I simply listed what happened last year, I thought I would start 2012 off with an amusing local story. In a Tesco supermarket in Coventry a 12 year old lad called Charlie picked up a display version of the iPhone 4S. He wanted to test out the new Siri system – where you can ask the phone a question and it replies with a sexless female robotic voice. It is supposed to answer your question, but not always it seems.

When little innocent Charlie asked ‘How many people there are in the world?’ The delightful android replied: ‘Shut the fuck up, you ugly twat.’ Naughty little virtual minx that she is.

Apparently some hilarious pranksters had fiddled with the settings of the phone. I’m just impressed that the iPhone 4S has an offensive sweary setting. I’m kind of annoyed that my old school 3GS is annoyingly polite. Stupid prick of a phone.

In case any Daily Mail readers stumble upon this and are about to bleat to the world how horrifying it must be for the kid and whine on and on in their pointless whingefest forums let me just point out the following. The kid was 12, he’s probably already seen porn. The kid was in Tescos in Coventry. If you’ve ever been there, you’ll know the air is riddled with swear words as people lament the fates that led them to be in Coventry. It’s a ghastly place which was completely flattened in the war and rebuilt entirely in cement by architects with no souls.

The final point is the kid’s mum. Upon hearing the swearing she was duly shocked and outraged. So asked the question again and got the same reply. Still shocked and outraged she then played the message yet again to the staff. So little Charlie heard the message three times and is now probably desensitised to the words anyway.

Intrigued by what Siri can actually do, I did some research. It seems to have a sense of humour and was clearly programmed by cool dudes into Scifi. In the film 2001 the main character suspects that the computer HAL is malfunctioning and wants it to open the pod bay doors. HAL refuses. Here’s what happens with Siri:

Here is Siri answering one of life’s imponderables with a quote from Monty Python:

Siri answers the meaning of life

Of course Siri can be helpful too:

Siri helps hide bodies

I then stumbled upon the following after typing in ‘What does Siri sound like?’ into google. She seems rude but capable.

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