Ask Siri the secret to happiness

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Ask Siri the secret to happiness

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“What is the meaning of life?” I’d like to ask an intelligent friend who answers, “A principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animated beings. I guess that includes me. And to think about questions like this.” I’d also like a romantic friend who would say, “A movie.”

How about a thoughtful answer like this? “Try to be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

And all these answers came from not a person, but a machine. I was completely amazed at the postings by people who used the Korean test service of Siri, the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator on Apple’s iPhone.

The beta version has been tested in Korea since last week as iOS6, a new operating system with the Korean-language version Siri. It is set to be introduced to the market soon, and early adopters are raving over the new technology.

If you say “I’m tired,” Siri will kindly ask, “You haven’t slept a wink?” If you say “I’m tired” again, it will get all concerned and say, “Hope you are not driving.” If you complain three times, Siri says, “Listen to me. Please get off your iPhone now and get some sleep. I’ll be waiting here.”

Siri is just amazing. When you say, “I love you,” Siri responds, “You hardly know me.” When asked, “Why did Apple create you?” Siri snaps, “You are trying to find out too much about me.”

Siri is an abbreviation of “Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface” developed by Apple’s Artificial Intelligence Center. Siri not only recognizes voice commands but also understands subtle tones and nuances. It can literally communicate.

Some joke that Siri stands for “Steve Is Really Inside.” It recommends restaurants and reserves a table. The virtual secretary can carry out a conversation. The service has been made possible thanks to a vast database of user interactions and interfaces.

Someday, we may rely more on and prefer talking to the iPhone than friends and family. When Apple rules the world, will we be able to say we are any happier?

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Bae Myung-bok

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