Tag Archives: smart phones

Not Quite Life Imitating Art

…but you can imagine an MA-gone-bad doing something like this:

If a report from The Sun is to be believed, a demo unit for the iPhone 4S caught fire for telling 12-year-old Charlie Le Quesne to “Shut the f— up, you ugly t—.”

Charlie reportedly asked Siri “How many people are there in the world?” and that was the answer he got back. Together with his mother and the manager, they asked the demo iPhone 4S the same question and got the same answer back yet again. Needless to say, the demo unit was unplugged and sent back to Apple for “diagnostic tests.”

The errors seems to have stemmed from Siri thinking that the questioner’s name was “Shut the f— up, you ugly t—.”

Which tells me that another, mischievous customer had been messing around with the unit prior to this incident.

Which just proves that, however slick and smart the Siri interface might seem, it’s still a long way from being a “simulacrum intelligence”-based mobile agent.

Mobile Agents Arrive on Earth

Readers of In the Shadow of Ares , when viewing commercials for the new Siri application for the iPhone 4S, will likely recognize flashes of “Laura” and “Emily”.  The artificially intelligent characters are Mobile Agents or “MAs”, not much bigger than a cell phone, that serve as much more than communication devices. 

This app brings today’s cell phones a huge step closer to what we envisioned on Mars in the not-too-distant future.  Siri is a voice recognition app that is apparently intelligent enough to not only understand what you say, but to know what you mean:

Talk to Siri as you would to a person.  Say something like “Tell my wife I’m running late.” “Remind me to call the vet.” “Any good burger joints around here?” And Siri answers you.  It does what you say and finds the information you need.  And then it hits you.  You’re actually having a conversation with your iPhone.

Like the MAs we envision, and prototypes being developed to assist in exploration activities, the Siri app recognizes location when it provides restaurant options “around here” or when you ask it to “remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work”.  Better yet, it also figures out what other apps to use based on what you are asking it to do.