Siri, the new iPhone 4S personal assistant, is xenophobic. In this video, a guy whose native language is Japanese, asks Siri, in heavily accented English, what the weather is like. Siri doesn’t know how to respond. “You don’t?” she asks. “Which Linda do you want to call?” and finally, “I’m not sure what you said there.”
I’m Sr Creative Technologist at AFS Intercultural Programs world headquarters, where staff members are from all over the globe. Everyone speaks English, but with accents from countries including Norway, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Paraguay, Egypt, Honduras, and Italy. And Siri can’t understand any of the accents!
Siri knows the meaning of life (her answer is wonderful) but she can’t tell my colleagues who have even slight accents whether it is going to rain.
Since joining AFS, I’ve been realizing how U.S.-centric the online marketing, social media, and PR communities are. But I expected more from Apple, which is, after all, a global phenomenon. Seems like a very large mistake to me not to anticipate more languages among iPhone users.
Siri’s also pretty humorless, also can’t sing. Here’s Siri in duet with the fabulous Jonathan Mann She may not love him, but I’m completely smitten.