Siri on iPhone 4S shows how eagerly humanity embraces Big Brother
I’m enjoying playing around with my Siri on the new iPhone 4S. I was due for a new phone but I think it was probably the Siri Virtual Assistant on the iPhone which sold me on the new iPhone 4S.
Siri on the iPhone 4S video below
Now as excited as I am about this new iPhone Siri Virtual Assistant Feature, I can’t help wondering whether this is how humanity will be enslaved by technology.
I mean, if someone MADE you have a device which observed your every thought and action, and sent it back to head office, we would be up in arms. We recoil at the idea, portrayed so well in 1984 by George Orwell, of Big Brother like observation.
If you haven’t read 1984 check it out on wikipedia.
The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents.
This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times.
Consumers lapping up iPhone and Siri
And yet we have people queuing up for the iPhone in their thousands and buying it in their millions. Now I know that Google and Facebook already know everything we do online, but I feel Siri is much more intimate and everpresent, and just so damn useful that it will infiltrate our lives much quicker. As these technologies mature and become more essential in our day to day lives, we become increasingly dependant on them
George Orwell wrote a dystopian fantasy which has often been eerily prophetic, but I think even he would be shocked at just how willingly humanity ultimately embraces big brother.
Now the thing which makes me most concerned about this transition isn’t just the observation, its the way we change our language. Siri is just too useful to do without, and it really is amazingly good at understanding our commands, but we quickly accommodate to using a simpler language to communicate effectively. Old voice recognition services were very primitive compared to Siri, we had to spend hours “training” the computer to understand our voice. Siri picks this up remarkably quickly, but we need to keep the syntax simple and direct to prevent confusion. Once Siri understands us, it summarises our command in words which would fit well in the newspeak dictionary. Effectively Siri is training us in the language of tomorrow. It is even sending messages to our friends in this simplified language. It will be only natural for them to reply in a similar vocabulary (or their phone will reply for them).
As I said, I love these advances in technology, but it does make you think.
The next question? What does Siri on the iPhone mean for SEO?