According to a recent report, nearly 160 million people own smartphones. I just went back to double check that figure... yep... 159.8 million. Android and Apple share 93% of that total, nearly equally, with the remaining 7% being ... well, others. I have an iPhone, so I talk to Siri... those who have Android phones have a number of options, but it seems that these days, most of them talk to Google. And notwithstanding the funny jokes out there about misunderstandings on the part of these phones, there's no question that for the most part the smart phones are - well, smart.
But some days.... you have to wonder.
Yes, I know that there is not a real person at the other end of my phone... or more realistically a whole staff of real people, each of whom is sitting at a computer terminal, listening and responding to the latest request of Google or Siri.
But some days... you have to wonder.
I have my mother listed in my contacts as "Mom". Now, Siri is pretty smart. The first time you ask Siri to "Send a text to my husband" she'll ask you who your husband is... but from then on, she knows who you mean. I've told her who my brother is, and who my sister is. But with mom, I have always had her in my contacts as "mom", which means I can tell Siri "Call mom". If I forget to specify home phone, or cell phone she'll ask which number, but I'm pretty good at remembering to say "Call mom, home"... and Siri is pretty good at following through.
This afternoon, I had a break in my schedule, and decided it would be nice to chat with mom for a moment. I picked up my phone, and said "Call mom, home". And Siri responded with "Calling Lubna Jahangiri". WHAT???
Well I quickly disconnected that call, repeated my instruction, and this time Siri got it right. After I concluded the call, I checked my contacts and to my surprise I discovered that, indeed, I have a Lubna Jahangiri in my contact list. I checked online, and discovered that Lubna is an elder law attorney in California. I don't know Lubna, I've never spoken with Lubna, and I have to assume that she's a member of one of the listservs I belong to and her contact information was automatically entered in my contact list on one of the occasions when I synced my google account with my phone.
Oh. Wait. NOW I get it... it's not just Siri playing with my head.. it's Siri AND Google, playing together. I can just see them at work, sitting around their cups of tea in the breakroom, sharing funny 'you'll never believe what I did to the customer' stories. I mean, come on. Even if you take a large bite of peanut butter before you talk, and you're in the middle of a really bad cold, and you whisper so that you won't be overheard... there is no way that Call Mom, Home sounds like Call Lubna Jahangiri.
And in the meantime, I realize that Lubna's phone rang once, and then I hung up on her. Oops.
By the way, I was going to withhold Lubna's name... but it's not as if she did anything wrong. And who knows, maybe someone reading this will decide that they need an elder law attorney in California, and they'll call her - for real. Hey, it's the least I can do, after needlessly bothering her.
I wonder what kind of tea Siri and Google drink? As for me, I've been trying some other brands, but I'm back to Typhoo.