An interview with Siri (podcast)

Larry Magid sat down with Siri--the personal assistant inside Apple's new iPhone 4S--and got some provocative responses to his questions such as "what's the meaning of life" and how to achieve a "happy ending."

Siri grants an interview to CBS News & CNET Larry Magid
After spending the weekend with Siri, the personal assistant who lives inside the new iPhone 4S, it occurred to me that she would be a good interview subject for my CBS News & CNET podcast. So, I invited her into my studio, plugged her into my mixing board and started asking questions.

In our four-minute conversation, she explained the meaning of life, told me that the Macintosh is her favorite computer, and got a bit indignant when I asked her about her favorite cell phone. It took her awhile to answer my question about the "meaning of life." First she said it was "a movie," but then added, "Try and 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." I can't argue with that.

Siri also has a bit of a dirty mind. I told her "I want a happy ending," and she told me that she found "a number of massage services fairly close to you." That wasn't what I had in mind.

Security conscious
Siri answered most of my questions, but she wasn't 100 percent cooperative. She corrected me a couple of times, refused to answer some of my questions, and there were a few times she didn't quite understand me, but that's happened with others I've interviewed. It does appear that Apple security got to her because, when I asked about her favorite music, she said "I'm not allowed to divulge that information." She was probably told not to play favoritism among the many labels and artists that Apple does business with.

As is often the case with interviews, I did a little editing. I deleted some questions and answers and took out some pauses. But I didn't change any of the questions and answers. Each of her responses is to the question you hear me pose. But, just as some interview subjects say "um" a lot, Siri has a habit of making a beeping sound that I often deleted.

So, take a listen to Siri speaking in her own words.

Listen now


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About the author

Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. He's been writing and speaking about Internet safety since he wrote Internet safety guide "Child Safety on the Information Highway" in 1994. He is co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com and SafeTeens.com, and a board member of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Larry's technology analysis and commentary can be heard on CBS News and CBS affiliates, and read on CBSNews.com. He also writes a personal-tech column for the San Jose Mercury News. You can e-mail Larry.

 

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