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Bar Room Call


was at dinner not too long ago when a lively debate broke out. It was nothing memorable — which Godfather movie contained which group of actors, or how many state capitals are named after presidents — just some engaging trivia. However, this night, there was a know-it-all at the table. And, I swear, when that person isn’t me, it is incredibly annoying. But sure enough, she was there with all the answers, and if I’m not mistaken, she was acting the slightest bit smug. Perhaps you know her. Her name is Siri. Siri knows everything. She even has a sense of humor. (Tell her you love her, or ask her what zero divided by zero is.) She can tell you the players implicated in the Chicago Black Sox scandal or the president of Hungary. She can tell you the names of recent hurricanes and she knows every Oscar winner ever. And with that encyclopedic knowledge at our fingertips, the discussion is over. Siri has killed the bar room debate. With one pregnant press of a button on our phones,

By Debbie Baldwin

Siri can tell us really anything. It’s a scorched earth trivia contest. If you think Mark Twain wrote A Tale of Two Cities, you are not only proven wrong, but shamed into silence by the sheer speed of Siri’s smackdown. Siri is the ‘phone a friend’ every Who Wants to be a Millionaire? contestant wished they had. And she is absolutely no fun. Siri, in all her various incarnations (and believe me, I get the irony of using the word incarnation here), is quickly becoming indispensable. You can find your friends, buy a book, schedule a meeting, make reservations, get movie times, and ruin a trivia debate with the touch of a button. I miss trying to remember who that actress was in that movie, or figuring out if “dearth” and “spate” are synonyms or antonyms. Is there a way to engage a little impulse control and, just for a while, keep Siri locked away in our phones? It would be so nice to sit around with some friends and just indulge in an energetic and totally meaningless debate. I’ll have to ask Siri if there’s a way to do that.

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September 4, 2015  

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