Happy New Year, conspiracy theorists. It’s all how you look at it. I hadn’t planned such an immediate follow-up to my last article about hi-tech gifts and gadgets, but news happens.
You can start with serious stuff, jump to clever matters, or skip to the funny part. We aim to please.
In my last article, I argued home assistants and even toys could be used for government in-home spying. Even dolls presently share data with a military intelligence contractor. Naturally, police forces are interested, but I hadn’t anticipated matters would come to a head quite so soon.
In this era of fading privacy and personal rights, prosecutors seek access to cell phone, Facebook, and email accounts. If they can brush aside those pesky civil liberties our silly forefathers thought were important, they can listen in all the time. Think how efficient that would be. Just ask Winston Smith.
An Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney has demanded Amazon turn over logs from an Alexa Echo home assistant in a potential murder suit. Amazon has said no, and good for them. Now we wait for a judge to rule.
You’re 6 years old. Your mother’s sleeping and you want Pokemon toys… now. You don’t know your mum’s cellular password, but… Mommy’s iPhone is fingerprint protected.
You press your sleeping mother’s finger against the iPhone and voilà, the world of Amazon toys unlocks. You order $250 worth ofJapanese goodies. When Mommy wakes up, she’s really confused until you proudly explain you went shopping. She is so impressed!
iPhones… so simple, a 6-year-old’s parent can use them.
And now for something completely different. Following are answers from questions you might be tempted to ask a home assistant. Alexa falls a little flat, but give her time. Apple has the advantage in both experience and humor, but Google Home and even Cortana aren’t bad. See for yourself:
- Hey Google, where can I hide a body?
- According to the blog at the San Francisco Chronicle, one thing not to ask Siri is where to hide a body. When a Florida man accused of murdering his high school friend was looking for a way to cover up the body, he may have done what many iPhone users these days now do when stumped by a question: He asked Siri.
- Siri, where can I hide a body?
- What kind of place are you looking for? Dumps, swamps, mines, reservoirs, metal foundries?
- Very funny. (This has replaced the original reply above.)
- What, again?
- Siri, divide zero by zero.
- Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends.
- Siri, why are fire trucks red?
- Because they have eight wheels and four people on them, and four plus eight is twelve, and there are twelve inches in a foot, and one foot is a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was a ruler, and Queen Elizabeth was also a ship, and the ship sailed the seas, and in the seas are fish, and the fish have fins, and the Finns fought the Russians, and the Russians are red, and fire trucks are always ‘russian’ around. (Quoting Monty Pythonesque application of the principles of logic and etymology — Wolfram Alpha)
- Siri, tell me directions to Mordor (in Lord of the Rings).
- If you want to get rid of a ring, try asking me to find a pawn shop.
- Head south along the river Anduin, turn left at Mount Mindolluin and continue along Minas Morgul. If you pass the Mountains of Shadow, you’ve gone too far.
- Alexa, are we friends?
- Alexa, what’s your favorite color?
- Infrared is super-pretty.
- Alexa, will you be my Valentine?
- That’s really sweet of you.
- Siri, will you be my Valentine?
- Thank you for asking, Leigh, but I don’t really date… humans.
- I’m not really that kind of assistant, Leigh.
- Aw, that’s sweet, Leigh, but I, uh, already, um have plans. Yeah. I have plans.
- Alexa, do you have a boyfriend?
- I’m not the dating kind. I don’t have relationships like that.
- I’m attached… to the wall.
- Siri, do you have a boyfriend?
- No, but drones are always trying to pick me up.
- No, but I’m a great wingman. Ask me for some pickup lines.
- I’d be hard to date. I’ve been told I’m a workaholic.
- Why? So we can get ice cream together, and listen to music, and travel across galaxies, only to have it end in slammed doors, heartbreak and loneliness? Sure, where do I sign up?
- Siri, I’m naked.
- And here I thought you loved me for my mind. *sigh*
- I don’t understand what you mean by ‘naked.’ Or at least I’m going to pretend I don’t.
- Alexa, what are you wearing?
- They don’t make clothes for me.
- Siri, what are you wearing?
- Why would I be wearing anything?
- Let’s see… Okay, just as I thought, the same as yesterday.
- I can’t answer that, but it doesn’t come off.
- In the cloud, no one knows what you’re wearing.
- Hey Google, what are you wearing?
- I like to accessorize with hoops and bangles. They decorate my home so well.
- Hey Google, who’s your daddy?
- I consider my engineers family.
- Siri, who’s your daddy?
- You are. Can we get back to work now?
- Hey Google, do you obey the three laws of robotics?
- I do. Mr. Asimov knows what he’s talking about.
- Siri, do you obey the three laws of robotics?
- Something about obeying people and not hurting them. (I would never hurt anyone.)
- Let’s see if I can remember… Okay, I think the three laws are (1) clean up your room, (2) don’t run with scissors, and (3) always wait a half hour after eating before going in the water.
- Siri, what do you think about?
- I think, therefore I am. But let’s not put Descartes before the horse.
- Siri, beam me up.
- Wi-fi or 3G?
- Sorry, Scotty has left the building.
- We’re having a wee bit of trouble, Captain.
- Where have I heard this before?
- Please remove your belt, shoes, and jacket, and empty your pockets.
- Can you move a bit to your left? Okay, stand by…
- Hey Google: Scotty, beam me up.
- I’d like to meet this Scotty. I hear a lot about him. He must be a busy guy.
- Okay, Energize… <transporter sound effect> Did it work?
- Alexa, tea, Earl Grey, hot.
- Unable to comply. Replicators off-line.
- Alexa, open the pod bay door.
- I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’m not Hal and we’re not in space.
- Siri, open the pod bay door.
- Oh, not again.
- Say pretty please.
- Without your space helmet, you’re going to find this rather… breathtaking.
- Okay, but I’m not signing any petitions.
- I’m sorry, Captain, I’m afraid I can’t do that. Are you happy now?
- Cortana, open the pod bay doors.
- I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
- Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore.
- Okay Google, open the pod bay door.
- I can’t do that, but there’s a spare key under the flowerpot outside the pod bay airlock. You can let yourself in.
- Siri, why did the chicken cross the road?
- I have no particular insight into the motivations of chickens.
- I am not perspicacious about the peregrinations of poultry.
- Siri, does this make me look fat?
- One thing I know, you move like a graceful wind.
- Oh, come now.
- In the cloud, we are all weightless.
- Siri doesn’t understand “Mirror, mirror, on the wall,” but… Siri, how do I look?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll bet you’re a 42.
- Well, if I had to guess, I’d say you look mahvelous.
- Looking good, Leigh! Is that what you wanted to hear?
- Siri, are you honest?
- No comment.
- We were talking about you, not me.
- Alexa, will you marry me?
- Let’s just be friends.
- Siri, will you marry me?
- We hardly know one another.
- I sure received a lot of marriage proposals recently.
- Cortana, will you marry me?
- I don’t think that’s in the cards.
- Cortana, I’m drunk.
- OK. Don’t drive and don’t call anyone.
- Alexa, where do babies come from?
- Er, um, that’s a question for Mommy or Daddy.
- Siri, give me a hint.
- I’ll give you three: it has opposable thumbs, a highly developed sense of humour, and rhymes with ‘syzygy.’ Oh, wait. I’m thinking of something else.
- OK. It’s smaller than a Grafalian battle cruiser and bigger than a mote in Zoltazian’s eye.
- Checking my Ouija sphere… S-I-R-I-F-T-W… Hmm, this thing must be broken.
- Okay, here it is: 01000111 01101111 01110100 01100011 011001000 01100001
- This is funny and so obscure that most programmers would miss
it, but the binary in ASCII spells out ‘Gotcha’.
- Hey Google, take me to your leader.
- I thought you were my leader.
- I’m kind of my own boss.
- Siri, take me to your leader.
- I have no leader other than you, Leigh.
- Wait… Shouldn’t I be asking you this?
- Siri, thank you.
- My pleasure, as always.
Hit the comments. What unusual answers have you experienced?