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Granny hits it big on Internet after voicing displeasure with Siri

Technically Incorrect: An Italian grandmother in Australia grapples with the idea of talking to Siri and ends up calling the voice command system "a bloody sh**". Of course, she's now a Web hit.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Nonna Paola and her iPhone. A difficult relationship. Greg Lachimia/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Artificial intelligence is currently a little too artificial and not so intelligent.

Many machines that claim to recognize your voice are stumped when you speak with an accent. I just asked Siri what kind of accent I speak with and she said: "Hmm. Let me think." I suspect she had no idea what I'd said.

My heart, therefore, courses Chianti at the sight of Nonna Paola, an Italian grandmother who now lives in Australia, attempting to get Siri to tell her the time in Italy.

The 78-year-old was given a new iPhone, as her son, 44-year-old Greg Lachimia, prompted and filmed. Paola's needs weren't great. But Siri's comprehension left a lot to be desired.

Lachimia posted the resulting video to his Facebook page, and its fame quickly began to grow like a mushroom in the rain. So much so that Paola now has her own Facebook page, where she has already amassed more than 33,000 likes.

Those who go to Paola's page may notice that she is described simply as "comedian."

And so it is that her interaction with Siri incites more than one snort. As the Daily Mail reports, Paola moved to Australia 58 years ago from Calabria. She hasn't, though, lost her Calabrese accent. Siri believes that Paola is speaking a series of words that make no sense.

Even simple phrases such as: "What's the time to Italy, please?" leave Siri clutching at Web pages that surely no one has searched before. On another attempt, she wonders whether Paola is looking for a deli.

At one point, Paola asks Siri: "Are you from Italy? What time is there?"

Siri begins her reply: "Like it says on the box." This Paola hears as "sex on the box." Which leads the 78-year-old to call Siri: "What a bloody sh**."

The full video, which is on her Facebook page, as well as her son's, offers a glorious exhibition of a human talking to an eager-to-please Martian. In the part of Mars where this Siri is from, the education system is imperfect.

This doesn't deter Paola from describing her fiendish son to Siri as "drama, crisis d***head."

The video has already enjoyed almost 4 million views on Lachimia's Facebook page. Some, though, might find an additional joy to it.

In a week in which Samsung has admitted that its voice recognition software may record background living room conversations when it's in use, some might see hope that their conversations may not yet be at all intelligible.

All you have to do is learn a Calabrese accent and you'll be fine.