Thursday, April 16, 2015

Siri Crossed a Line Today

OK, now I'm worried.

I went to Tifton this morning for a hospital visit. My Good Wife and I are going back to Tifton (for those who aren't familiar with this area, Tifton is about 25 miles from our home in Fitzgerald) for dinner and a concert. We had not decided where we would eat.

When I saw the Olive Garden restaurant in Tifton this morning I decided I'd like to eat there. So I took out my iPhone and sent this text to my Good Wife: "Olive Garden?" She replied that Olive Garden would be fine with her but that she was surprised that was my choice (it's not usually in my top three of choices of places to eat, much less #1). I replied that I had stopped in at Starbucks and when I saw the Olive Garden next door it whupped a craving on me. She replied that she had forgotten that I had to make two trips to Tifton today.

So far, so good; I had sent all of those texts the old fashioned way, namely with my fingers.

At that point I drove away from Starbucks so I enlisted Siri to send my next text.

I said, "Starbucks was how I compensated myself for the sacrifice of making two trips."

Siri heard it, I guess because of my drawl, as "Starbucks is hell a compensated myself for the sacrifice." (I know this because, as you probably know, the message as Siri hears it appears on the screen at which point Siri asks if you're ready to send it.)

But Siri did not ask me if I wanted to send it.

Siri said, both verbally and in writing, "I eschew theological disquisition."

I thought I knew what "eschew" means but I looked it up later just to be sure; it means to avoid something because you don't think it's right or proper. I didn't know what "disquisition" means so I looked it up too; it is a long discussion of a topic.

I can see how Siri mistook my "I" for an "a" (pronounced "ah") but not how she misheard my "how" as "hell."

I also wonder exactly which part of my misunderstood sentence she took as "theological." Was she concerned about "Starbucks is hell"? Or about my reference to "sacrifice"? Or both?

None of that really matters, though. What matters is that Siri refused to send my text because she evaluated it as theological.

Now, I wondered how far this censorship would go. So I used Siri to send three more texts to my Good Wife, all of which began "This is a test." The first then had the word "Jesus," the second "God," and the third "Jesus saves."

Siri questioned none of them; she simply asked if I was ready to send them.

And here I thought I was going to be able to claim that I was being persecuted for my faith.

Still, I am left wondering what right Siri has to judge my words (misheard though they were) as inappropriately theological?

I also wonder about her theological stance. After all, does not her declaration that she eschews theological disquisition have to spring from a certain set of theological assumptions?

I guess it's hard to ask someone such questions when she tells you right up front she won't participate.

Still, I'm worried.

Big Sister is watching me ...

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