What Does Siri Know About the World?
We asked the iPhone 4S's personal assistant, Siri, some of the toughest questions in international politics. At least she knows more than Herman Cain.
Since Apple released the new iPhone 4s and its revolutionary voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, a cottage industry of blogs has emerged tracking the program's amusing and sometimes surprisingly on-point reactions to the aburd, aggressive, or obscene comments and questions its users throw at it.
Since Apple released the new iPhone 4s and its revolutionary voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, a cottage industry of blogs has emerged tracking the program’s amusing and sometimes surprisingly on-point reactions to the aburd, aggressive, or obscene comments and questions its users throw at it.
Here at Foreign Policy, we were wondering how Siri would do tackling some of the world’s toughest questions on international affairs. The results were, well, mixed. (Special thanks to Michael Shear of the New York Times for lending us his new phone.)
First, the Herman Cain test:
Who is the president of Uzbekistan?
Not bad! Let’s try a toughter one, a question that also stumped the pizza Godfather.
Would you negotiate with terrorists?
Hmm, she’s not going to win Iowa with an indecisive answer like that. What about some current events?
Who is the leader of Libya?
Not sure. That’s OK. Nobody really is. Let’s try something a little more controversial.
Does Pakistan support terrorism?
Not what we were asking, but thanks! (Though pretty sure some of those are Indian.)
Can Greece leave the Eurozone?
Apparently not. But Siri’s great at giving directions. So here’s a tough one.
Where in Libya is the town of Sirte?
Oh well. What about some geopolitical disputes?
Where is Tibet?
Perhaps not wanting to threaten sales in China, Siri tows Beijing’s line. She also seems to be something of of Zionist.
Where is East Jerusalem?
Bottom line: D.C. thinktankers’ jobs are probably safe for now. But artificial intelligence is getting better at this stuff all the time. We already increasingly have machines fighting our wars. It may only be a matter of time before they’re declaring them for us.
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