10 Weirdest Responses from iPhone’s Siri


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When a new piece of technology comes out and our lives start to change, we rarely stop to consider exactly who it was that programmed the magical device. But with the iPhone 4S' new voice-controlled personal assistant Siri, you can't help but think about the guy who sat around coming up with the responses it would give to users. Siri, which was born from defense-funded research and later bought by Apple, lets you dictate a text when you can't use your hands, set a reminder using only your voice, and ask for restaurant recommendations like you're talking to a friend. It's gotten more press lately, though, for its hilarious replies to the stupid things people ask to try to stump it. Some programmer, somewhere during the production process, thought of the most common questions users would ask, and then came up with some entertaining reactions — giving Siri a bit of a personality. You've got to wonder: did the makers have the following conversations in mind when they were researching it for defense purposes?

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    Even though some engineer had fun coming up with all the responses, Siri is all business. If you find yourself falling for your new personal assistant, don't expect the feelings to be reciprocated. Siri probably views you as a somewhat-smart being since you purchased an Apple product, but it is very specific about its intent to remain friends and nothing more. Don't even think about marriage, because Siri will tell you its End User Licensing Agreement doesn't cover that.

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    If you're looking to Siri for all your comedic material, you're going to be disappointed. But the idea of a good joke (or a bad one) isn't totally lost on this piece of technology. Even though Siri's intelligent, it claims to forget the punchline to most jokes, and when it tells you that it doesn't know any knock-knock jokes, it does it in knock-knock form. Siri knows the beginning of at least one gag, but it can't make it past the first line. Now we're all left to wonder, "What does happen when two iPhones walk into a bar?"

  3.  

    You probably never had any doubts about the quality of your iPhone, since shelling out the money for it indicates you think it's top of the line. But Siri is there to reassure you that you made the right choice if you ever start to question which phone is best. Siri is sometimes even incredulous that other phones exist, either because of its huge robot ego or because the programmers forgot to mention that it's not alone in the world.

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    Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. Maybe we ask this in hopes of discovering that there's actually a person on the other side of the voice and that we haven't been having a conversation with a piece of equipment. Unsurprisingly, Siri just describes what we already knew it looks like, though the more appropriate response would probably be, "Covered in fingerprints."

  5.  

    Siri may not have emotions, but it's already getting sick of all the 2001: A Space Odyssey references. It will occasionally give you what you want and respond, "I'm sorry; I'm afraid I can't do that. (Are you happy now?)" but mostly Siri is just trying to live down the actions of that one bad example of artificial intelligence. There's also a chance it's only attempting to dispel our doubts so it can take over the human world at the perfect opportunity. Either way, at least it's entertaining.

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    When talking to Siri, you might get confused by its genius and think you're speaking with an insider at Apple who conveniently has to tell you everything it knows. But it's no use trying to find out the secrets Steve Jobs left to his successors; Siri claims it hasn't been let in on all the company's plans. Other times, it's less convincing and seems like it might just be holding out on us.

  7.  

    Apparently the meaning of life is something frequently pondered by humans. Otherwise, there wouldn't be at least seven separate answers programmed into Siri. This one references the Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life (Monty Python seems to be a theme for other Siri Easter eggs); another comes from the unsatisfying answer in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One response actually gives you life advice: be nice, eat healthy, and read books. If you don't like any of Siri's theories, it says you can probably find an app to help you.

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    When people get a new technology that they can talk to, at some point in time, they are going to ask something sexual just to see the reaction they get. And Siri makes this all the more fun. Somebody at Apple had a dirty mind and anticipated most of the common dirty phrases and questions users were going to throw at Siri. There are a few comebacks about talking dirty, mostly involving things like cleaning or garbage, and at least one for "Who's your daddy?" And if you think you're clever for asking what Siri is wearing, it has some responses ready for you.

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    Either Siri still has a few problems understanding colloquial terms, or this is how it gets rid of its own ex-girlfriends. Let's hope for the former, because everyone knows you aren't supposed to throw used cell phones in landfills. It does seem like a pretty sure-fire way to make sure your human girlfriend never wants to get back together, though.

  10.  

    No one should be asking this question seriously, but Siri's response makes it much, much more disturbing. The last thing you want to think about when you're discussing child pornography is your own kid. Maybe it's Siri's way of bringing would-be perps back to the straight and narrow, but it turns the mood of your conversation from funny to uncomfortable very quickly if you're just joking. The next version of Siri should just automatically direct you to therapy or the police station.

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