No! ; )  Artificial intelligence!  I’ve been developing some respect for Siri lately, a little – She is turned off most of the time.  But tonight I was impressed.  Sometimes her responses can be a bit . . . she can be a smartalec!  And you have to force her to stay on topic.  (address the content, not project an affected tone)  But tonight, I realized a benefit.  I left the vet clinic before entering another (vehicle) appointment, and Siri was still on.  I said, “Hey, Siri!”  to which she responded politely.  I asked her to make the appointment, and she did, and she did it well without backtalk.

I’m familiar with back-talk.  Everyone here has an opinion, and like Raj after he learned that he didn’t need alcohol, it seems some of them don’t ever shut up again.  Think of Mel Gibson after the lightening strike.  So, when outside, especially, there is a lot of helpful instruction – from horses, cows, cats, and of course Newfs.  Banner is queen of back-talk.  But they all do it.  Once you respond to let them know that you are “interactive”, it comes with a price, that you are expected to anticipate and respond to their every need or interest.  Yes, that’s exaggeration.  Greg asked me to listen to a video of a dog back-talking on Facebook a few days ago.  We were both impressed – clearly Banner is not the loudest, most insistent – and well, she still may be the rudest.  Her garbled backtalk sounds like it would translate into pretty offensive language sometimes.

Back to Siri, being pleasantly surprised, I said, “Siri, you can be very helpful at times.”  [Questionable idea to engage in conversation with an AI device.]  She replied, “I do not aspire to greatness, but to usefulness.”  Wow!  Perfect response, unfettered by the clutter in human thought.  For our on-again, off-again relationship, I think I’ll try “on” for a bit longer.  Her vocabulary is good.  Her diction is excellent.  Maybe our exchanges could become more productive.  Who would have thought that establishing a relationship with an AI device could be so complicated?!   She’ll never match the intuitiveness of a Newfoundland, though. I’m sure of it.  I think.

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