Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Southern questions for the iPhone 4S Siri -- does she know the proper way to say pecan?

As promised (or threatened) in my previous post, I've had some time to ask Siri, the artificial intelligence in the new iPhone 4S, some questions about things near and dear to the Southern heart. She came back with a few worthy replies, but mostly, I began to wonder if she should be renamed 'Sorry.'

Here are a few of the questions I asked. Thanks to readers who sent in suggestions. Please keep them coming, as I plan to cross-examine Siri again soon. (Come to think of it, perhaps I should ask her, "Where were you on the night of January 16th?")

Q: How do you pronounce 'pecan'? (Shout out to reader AKA Jane Random)

A: Siri said she was checking her sources, then came back with a Wolfram Alpha search result which said 'pecan' was properly pronounced ‘p’eek,on.’ Score one for Siri. 

Q: How far north can you grow okra? (Mike Ratcliffe)

A: "I'm checking your current location." At the time, I was driving from North Carolina to Virginia, so Siri came back with a listing for a business called Kids on the Grow in Hillsborough, N.C. Um, not too helpful, Siri. 

Q: Where are the best places to shag? (Mike Ratcliffe)

A: "I've found a number of places…23 of them are close to you…I've sorted them by rating." Given the universal meaning of the word 'shag,' which is familiar to Austin Powers fans, and 'shag' as in beach music, I expected either seedy hotels, Myrtle Beach nightclubs, or both. Instead, Siri coughed up a golf range and a place that sold chairs. Say what?

Q: How do you make a Mint Julep? (Claudia)

A: "Checking my sources," Siri replied. After scratching her virtual head for a moment, she delivered a page of Google search results, the first of which was a recipe for mint juleps from the site cocktails.about.com. Let's raise a frosted silver cup to Siri!

Q: Is Texas considered part of the South? (This was one of my dumb questions)

A: "It is hot in Austin, Texas," Siri replied, and then gave me the Texas city's weather report. Yes, the South is hot, Siri. Oh dear Lord, you should spend an August in Atlanta. But just because Texas is hot, you shouldn't assume that Texas is part of the South. (I'm still debating that one myself.)

Q: What would you do with a cat on a hot tin roof? (Me again)

A: Siri gave me a list of nearby roofing contractors. Perhaps the local fire department might have been more appropriate. Or even better, Siri, next time brush up on your Tennessee Williams and say "Jump off, Maggie! Jump off!" And if you mentioned 'no-neck monsters,' I might die of joy right there on the spot.

Tune in next time when I ask Siri more Southern questions, like "Would you like some more sweet tea?," and "What do Southerners really mean when they say 'bless her heart'"?

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  1. Well, bless her virtual heart-- Siri tried. I'll help her out a bit on the okra question (okay, so I sort of knew the answer already). I'm at 36 degrees north (in Maryland) and I had a bumper crop of okra this year.

  2. I had a friend on facebook making comments about Siri all day and was wondering what the heck she was talking about. Now I know! Thanks! It's true, the more you read the more you know :-D

  3. Ha ha! I've been wondering how well lil Siri would work.

  4. We were at the Apple store the first day that phone came out. We were buying a MacBook Pro. I'm used to PC's. The guy taught us how to turn it on and sent us on our way. By the time I got to use it, I had a bottle of wine in my and I was on Facebook asking people how to get on the internet. And then I said, "Oh, Safari! What fun!" And learned that a PC is like driving a car and a Mac is like flying an airplane. I tried to fly a plane for my first time drunk, and all I got was a lousy video of my husband and me completely inebriated. I understand all those people waiting in like for their iPhones, but I'd have to take a class...my stoopid Droid still kicks my ass on the daily after 13 months of having. I tried to operate that thing drunk my first time, too, actually!

  5. OOOOH, OOOOH, OOOOH!!! *raising my hand, jumping up in down in my seat*

    I know the answer to the Texas question as I'm a Texas girl.

    While we consider ourselves geographically in the South where it IS mighty hot, (I baked cookies on my dash this summer just to see if I could! I blogged it if you're interested. :)
    We consider ourselves a republic. Thereby, being more southern...definitely not Yankee...but ready to whip out our guns at moments notice to secede anytime we feel it's necessary, as legally we are the only ones who can. :)

    I also know what Bless Her Heart means!! But, I'll wait til next time to see if Siri knows. :)

  6. Nice post! Following!

  7. very interesting and congratulations on your topic I really liked your blog

  8. Texas being part of the South is a bit trickier than once being our own Republic because Texas was most definitely active during the Civil War firmly on the side of Confederates, even hosting a few skirmishes along the coast line. And the Confederacy used Texas's waterways to effect for the Confederacy.

    However, I do believe that Texas is Southern to some extent. I am currently exploring this idea in my blog, A Lost Reader, as I read through Gone with the Wind.

  9. And so for a variety of reasons, I was curious about Siri's response. ;)

  10. ouh, very nice, the SIRI programm is really fantastic and lovely, espiacally in german :D

    morices / http://energydrinkshannover.blogspot.com/