Siri may be descended from Hal
Astronaut Dave: "Open the pod-bay door, Hal."
Berserk computer Hal, speaking softly and sweetly: "I'm sorry, Dave — I can't do that."
We all remember that scene from "2001: A Space Odyssey," right? One of the most memorable exchanges in movie history, surely.
The following is true. Perhaps it has even happened to one of you.
I had given my iPhone instructions to "direct me to (such-and-such address)." The iPhone was trying to get me there. But I changed my mind and decided to go to a different address. So I told the iPhone to "Direct me to (the new address)."
The iPhone got me there, but the next time I asked for directions, it started giving me directions to the old address — the one I didn't want to go to anymore.
I tried to get it to stop. I said "Stop, please."
I said "Discontinue this route, please."
I said "Quit!"
And each time, the Siri voice of the iPhone came back to me, ever so softly and sweetly — I am not making this up — and said to me, "I'm sorry, Craig, I can't do that."
After three or four rounds of this, I suggested to Siri that, well, her parents may not have been members of the mammalian species. And she came back to me with, "Now, Craig, there is no need to become obscene."
And she KEPT ON trying to direct me to the address I had abandoned previously — while I was trying to make a phone call! (I had stopped the car.)
Finally, I shut the phone off and left it off for half an hour, then timidly turned it back on ... and Siri had finally given up and left me alone.
Did I mention that this really happened — that I am not making this up? You don't believe me? Do you own an iPhone? Try it — I dare you!
I told this story to a friend who said, "It has happened to me, too. What's the big deal? You just stop the car, turn the phone off and then back on. Easy as pie."
To which I replied, "No! Easy as pie would mean that Siri is programmed to understand a simple command like 'Stop!' without making you shut the phone off and turn it back on."
I love you, Apple — but you really blew this one.
Craig Callaway lives in Eagle Point.