Ed Ackerman

Ed Ackerman The Optimist

Nothing labels me more an old guy than my delight in proving computers aren’t as smart as they think are, or better said, as smart as we are led to believe.

The problem is they are.

So, I must relish in tiny victories, which typically come in the form of Siri or Alexa misinterpreting a voice command.

I’ve told you before about my Siri experience. I could not set up my iPhone without speaking “Hey, Siri” into the recording device. So, I did. But I swore I would never ask Siri for anything, and I made that stick.

Then, about a year later, I was writing on my laptop one evening while my wife watched a movie on TV. My phone lay on the table next to me. At one point, I looked up and saw on the TV screen the villain of the movie. “He’s scary,” I said.

To which I heard Siri respond, “I’m here.”

Last weekend we visited relatives in Roanoke, Virginia. Theirs is an Alexa household. She plays music, controls the thermostat and sets the timer on the stove. About the only thing she doesn’t do is make the beds.

Our niece and nephew have three little kids and among their Christmas presents, we brought the game Twister. They have every electronic device going, but it turned out they really liked the old-fashioned fun of contorting your body.

Their mom was doing the spinning and calling out the moves. At one point, she said, “Right foot, red.” And when she did, Alexa spoke right up: “Okay, recipe for bread.”

It made my day.

Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist blog Wednesdays and Fridays. His column, The Optimist, is published every week in Greater Pittston Progress.

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