Siri, the beginnings of iRobot — or, the best voice recognition app for smartphones yet

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November 2, 2011

Lately, I have been hearing a lot about a voice recognition program called Siri, a virtual personal assistant, all wrapped up nicely in the Apple iPhone 4s. My friends with iPhones have been raving about how great it is and how it has improved their lives and their productivity levels.

A similar program has been on my Android phone since I bought one about a year ago. I haven’t really gotten much use out of it, aside from using it as a speech-to-text program to see how many times I’d get auto-corrected — which was every time I said a proper noun —per text message. Also, using my phone to say my text messages aloud was not something I wanted to do. No one wants to hear me text my friends about fan fiction. I didn’t know what else to do with the program, so I left it alone and almost never used the feature.

However, I’ve gathered that the voice recognition program on an Android phone is not exactly like Siri. While an Android can use voice recognition to Google search exact phrases and create text messages for you, Siri can create reminders and even tell you the weather.

Siri’s the kind of personal assistant that gets down to the tiny details of things — the kind of personal assistant that everyone wants. In some ways, it’s like having your own personal intern who can do all the work you don’t want to do.

I can see Siri’s appeal:  it’s slick, and it’s a useful program for those on the go who don’t have time to type things out. It’s also great for  those who multitask. My fellow college students can appreciate the capability to write a midterm paper while asking Siri to find the nearest pizza place that delivers.

In this day and age, most college students are technologically hip and can figure out how to use Siri in a snap. All the more reasonfor twenty-somethings to desire an iPhone. Many of my friends who fall into the category of “technologically hip twenty-somethings” and are without iPhones have expressed their want for the latest Apple phone.

This may very well be the beginning of a voice recognition revolution that creates actual personal assistants. Decades from now, people will have their own Rosie the Robot Maid listening to their voice commands. Rosie, can you please make sure that breakfast is ready at 7:30? Sure enough, Rosie the Robot Maid will make sure little Elroy and Judy will get their eggs and bacon promptly at 7:30.

Though it would be nice to have a robot catering to my every whim, Siri is still a personal assistant virtually existing inside an Apple product. This program will continue to have its perks for the time being; it’s useful, it’s resourceful, and, best of all, you can carry it wherever you go.

I’m going to stick with my Android phone, despite all the cool features that come along with having Siri on a phone. My dad got an iPhone 4 recently and I’ve played around with it, trying to see all the neat things it can do. It’s a nice phone with the latest and obviously superior voice recognition program, but I’m not an Apple person. I prefer the Android interface to the iPhone. I’m also not due for an upgrade for a long time; there is no way I am going to shell out extra money to pay for a phone when mine works fine. I’m sure Android will develop their own version of Siri in due time.

In the end, I can’t help but think that voice recognition programs will only improve and become a staple of smart phones. Siri is just the starting point that brings voice recognition programs to the forefront of smart phone features.


Siri, the beginnings of iRobot — or, the best voice recognition app for smartphones yet was published on November 2, 2011 in Opinions

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