Dear Siri

Dear Siri,

I know you mean to be helpful. You even are, kind of; on occasion. But mostly I just feel like I'm being taunted by a pale, flickering vision of a much cooler future that I'm not allowed to have yet.

I remember feeling the same way when Furbys first came out. I saw the ad as a kid and was like- "No fucking way! I finally get to have my own robot." Then of course I got one after months of begging my parents; I ripped open the packaging, pulled the bastard out, and about thirty minutes later I came to the slow realization that I'd been had. Furby can't actually do shit. There are like ten scripted commands, a couple of mindless games, and that... is pretty much it. Furby didn't give two shits about watching Ren and Stimpy reruns or helping me with my math homework. What I thought was going to become an awesome new part of my life became a lasting monument to my gullibility and a naive child's shattered dreams instead. The next year I got a BB gun for my birthday, and I think you can guess which furry little fascist was the first to get pulled, blindfolded, in front of the firing "squad" when I decided to play Spanish Civil War. Long live the Republic, you eternal commie underdogs.

I'm not the only one who's noticed a similarity between the personal assistant that was supposed to change it all... and Siri. Look at these two retards, duking it out for the title of "A.I. Mostly Likely to Get Chucked Out of a Moving Vehicle During a Fit of Rage."

But the biggest problem is that even on your best days, even when you're functioning exactly like you were designed, you still don't really do anything, Siri. You're a hands-free service, not really an assistant or a time saver. That's all well and good for the car I guess, but you can't do anything that I can't also do with a few swipes of my finger. Siri- meet my much more reliable personal iPhone assistant- Mr. Hand.

And that's a shame, because I really do want a personal assistant. I'm a person who likes to do things, and in the year 2012 it seems inexcusable that I'm still wasting big heaping piles of time every week doing mindless busywork- writing e-mails, filling out applications, updating résumés, searching for things online. There's so much busywork-intensive stuff that I want to do that I don't have time for. I don't have time to look at every bank in the world and shop around for the absolute lowest interest rate to refinance my mortgage. I don't have the time or expertise to squeeze every last deduction out of my taxes. I don't have time to comb through the internet, filling out applications for every scholarship, internship, and grant that lines up with what I want to do in life. I don't have time to look at every company in every industry that's hiring right now for a position that I might love to have if I only knew about it. I can't begin to fathom all the money I'm not saving, all the cool things I'm not doing, and all the opportunities that are passing me by every week.

Using a new tool is basically the same as gaining a super power. Buying a Kindle is like being bit by a radioactive PDF that turns you into Read-Email-Attachments-in-Direct-Sunlight-Man. Remember when you first got a smartphone? It was like waking up one morning to realize you had become He-Mail.

He-Mail/Prince Adam, seen here sporting his power-enhancing WiFi harness. In this scene he is confronting his arch nemesis,  The Council of Spam, in their dark, murky netherworld... which I assume is located somewhere in Russia or Nigeria.

Siri turned me into Can-Sometimes-Dictate-A-Text-While-Driving-If-Siri-Feels-Like-It-Today-Man. Great. Lamest superpower ever. I need more. I see all the pieces out there. My web browser fills in my address automatically and saves passwords. TurboTax makes taxes easier. Google search/calendar/email is getting pretty nifty. And you Siri- you can understand what I'm trying to say... sometimes. Now I just need it all together- and more of it. I don't want to be the secretary of my life, I want to be the CEO.

"Siri, do my taxes."

"Siri, update my résumé."

"Siri, refinance my house."

"Siri, see if you can get me an internship with National Geographic."

"Siri, submit a work/residency visa request and find me a decent job in New Zealand."

Start answering those requests, and then we'll start talking.

Sebastian Braff


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