When Apple introduced the Macintosh, it promised 1984 wouldn’t be like Nineteen Eighty-Four. And yet there’s something seriously Orwellian about Apple in the year 2015.
OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but Apple’s Siri will soon ship with an always-on feature that lets you summon her with your voice at any time (without plugging in your phone).
Siri, always there. Always paying close attention to what we say. Waiting for us to modulate: “Hey Siri.”
It feels weird. And uncomfortable.
Having a personal assistant in my phone sounded cool and futuristic when Siri debuted — not even Back to the Future saw that coming when it imagined October 21, 2015 — but then, I realized that to have Siri always on (an opt-in feature), she must, to some degree, always listen.
Apple is so excited about its upcoming “Hey Siri” feature that it named its latest event after her. The idea is not new — Android’s “Ok Google” has been around for a while now. But even if Hey Siri is opt-in, Apple’s gadgets are everywhere. Siri has me surrounded. Even if I don’t own an Apple product, someone close to me probably will.
‘Not now, Siri. I’m busy…’
When you need Siri to look up directions while you rush down the streets of Manhattan, or if you ever need to call 911 but your phone is not in reach — like that time Siri saved a life — she’ll help you. Awaiting her prompt, she’ll stick around during other activities, too — while you are having sex, or when you’re crying alone about your post-graduate life. You might not notice, but she’s there. Listening. Waiting for “Hey Siri.”
Other Apple’s gadgets are likely to follow suit. The Apple Watch already comes with Siri, but it’s so tricky to activate that the guys from MacRumors had to write a step-by-step guide. Anyway, an omnipresent Siri for the Apple Watch could certainly be on the mind of Tim Cook. It’s bound to hit the market eventually — probably soon.
Same story with the awesome new Apple TV. Starting this October, Siri will take over your television with the push of a button. Soon, your TV set could always listening, too.
How long until Siri for Mac? I bet soon we’ll be so accustomed to an always-on, responsive Siri that we will demand it.
Living with Siri
Maybe I’m still in privacy shock. After I started working for VentureBeat and realized Apple and Google own more of my information than I’d like, I can’t help but feel suspicious of my always-listening, sassy, stalking friend.
So, watch this video of the first talking PC while you wait for Siri’s upcoming feature. But, until I get to really know her, I will have to pass and say #ByeSiri.