Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hey Siri : Generational Views on Technology

Remember Rosie, the Jetson's robot maid?  Well, she's got nothing on our modern day gal Friday, Siri!   Years ago, the idea of a disembodied, portable, know-it-all voice would have seemed like the ultimate space-age innovation.  And truly, Siri's capabilities are pretty astounding.  She has changed the way we travel, communicate, and look up information. Yet Siri can mean very different things to different people.

My 89 year old mother wouldn't trust Siri as far as she could throw her (it).  She pretty much feels the same way about all technology.  After all,she lived through a time when the push of a button set off an atomic bomb!   As far as she's concerned, ATMs lose your money.  A microwave ruins food (actually, she has a good point here).  And computers are unfathomable, magical devices that can wreak havoc and destruction with one wrong move.

I have mixed feelings about Siri.  I use her when I'm driving to make calls or texts, but she doesn't seem to have a good grasp of English.  Like my husband meant to leave a message saying, "if you pick up this message..." which transcribed as "if you pick up the cherries". (?)  She also doesn't distinguish between Holliswood, NY, where I worked, and Hollywood, CA.  Speaking of Holliswood, the maze of small streets there causes her to "recalculate" so often she actually breaks down.  So many of my interactions with Siri end up with me screaming at her about what an idiot she is.  

For my 16 year old granddaughter and her friends, Siri  is practically one of the girls. She helps them call and text one another and is the ultimate homework helper.. She's great at providing answers to quick questions like definitions of words or concrete facts. These girls take technology in their stride as an unremarkable fact of life.

Siri's biggest fan is probably my 2 year old granddaughter.  Young children are unafraid to push buttons, experiment, and explore.  I once caught her sneaking her mother's phone under a blanket.  She pressed for Siri and whispered, "Pees I have a soda?".  Diplomatically, Siri answered, "I'll have to look into that".  Now that's putting your trust in technology!

Technology continues to change at a rapid pace. Like all change, some of us are afraid of the unknown and some of us are ready and eager to embrace it.  My intention is to balance the caution of my mom with the enthusiasm of my grandkids; to be open to learning more about ways that technology can serve me in my life and relationships.

1 comment:

  1. It's so true! The digital world is growing rapidly and the younger generations adapt to it and consider it the norm. A good balance is key! I lm more of a paper/pen girl myself- wonder where I get that from 😉