When Siri gets on your nerves

It’s bad enough having Siri on your phone or tablet and sometimes even in your car – OK maybe it is not Siri but probably a distant relative.  Now they are installing Siri in hotel rooms so she can deal with instructions like turn on the lights and open the curtains.  That is always assuming of course that she can understand what you are saying.  Siri is not very good with non North American accents.  Voice recognition is so inefficient sometimes that you either end up crying or laughing.  Here’s what can happen when you get two Scotsmen in an elevator using voice recognition.

My friend has voice recognition in her car GPS and told me about the time she took her elderly mother on a doctor’s visit.  Siri didn’t like the route she was taking and kept telling her to do a U-turn.  Eventually my friend lost it and told Siri where to go and that she was a stupid cow.  Her mother was so shocked.  “Don’t speak to the lady like that! She is only trying to help.”

So can you imagine.  You have just got off a long trans-Atlantic flight from your home town of Bradford or Johannesburg or Palermo.  You check into your fancy New York hotel and just want to close the curtains and have a nap.  Can’t find where the curtain cord is.  Oh yes, the lady at the front desk said the controls for the room are voice-activated.  In your best clear voice you say “Close the curtains” …..

“I am sorry – can you repeat your request.”

Oh hell – of course – you are in America and they call them drapes.  Try again.

“Close the drapes”

“Please speak slowly”….. you get the picture.  By this time you have pulled over the dresser and are trying to physically close the curtains so you can dim the room and get some much needed sleep.  Can’t budge them – to hell with it you think. You are just going to switch off the lights and have a nap.

Ummmm – so you want to switch off the lights.  So how are you going to do that smarty pants?  You have to speak to the lady.  You know before even trying that she is not going to understand you so your McGyver instincts come into play.  You notice that there is no central light but just lamps.  You go to each lamp and take out the LED light.  Good.  That’ll show her.  Now finally you are ready to have a nap.  Just one last thing – you need a pee.

So how do you flush the toilet…… Oh Nooooooo!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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