Your Next Best Friend Isn’t Siri

Apple's Siri is the smartest voice since Hal from 2001 — a Space Odyssey . I may be lost in translation, but I have seen folks treat Siri as though it's their best new friend… asking a lot of dumb questions. Eventually, Siri has enough sense to say “Move on.”

Geez, are we so immersed in digital communication that we fail to have a conversation in person or connect with someone? The one thing I've learned that is very important is to get up and away from my desk and go actually talk to someone. Go to association programs and learn something or to networking events and meet someone. That person could become a new (real, not Facebook) friend, the key to your next career move, or your next chance to pitch your product or service.

In fact, have you noticed at meetings that it's rare to see people having conversations before the meeting starts or during breaks? It seems like almost everyone is staring at their screens or typing on their smartphones, iPads, or laptops. Occasionally, one of them might glance at you and give you a cursory greeting, but odds are, many “digit-o-philes” won't even look up: a lost opportunity to network, learn, or bond.

I also have to laugh when I see folks making speeches: Most folks are not watching the presenter because many are typing notes, reading another Website (rude), or tweeting what you said. Is it that important to tweet right then? Can't it wait until the program is over?

Nothing I ever said in a speech couldn't wait. One of these days I want to see a speaker start taking their clothes off and see if they can get everyone's attention. I bet most won't even notice.

Again, push the PDA and computer away, get up, and go and get engaged with people. Meet, collaborate, share, and get inspired.

20 comments on “Your Next Best Friend Isn’t Siri

  1. bolaji ojo
    September 20, 2012

    Al, Taking your advice right now — just have to quickly finish writing this. I'm off to walk the dog and perhaps make some friends on the way. (It's difficult holding the leash and the pooper scooper and still dabble in smartphone text communications at the same time!)

    September 20, 2012

    Ever visit a doctor lately (or a GP as we call them in the UK).  They barely even look at you because they are typing stuff into their computers all the time.  I sometimes wonder if they are actually taking notes or looking at Facebook 😉

  3. Houngbo_Hospice
    September 20, 2012


    “I sometimes wonder if they are actually taking notes or looking at Facebook ;-)”

    That is one bad side of Eletronic Medical Record systems adoption. Doctors seem to be disconnected from their patients while taken notes. I suppose there is a price to pay in order benefit from the technology.

  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    September 21, 2012

    I am still a Luddite when it comes to mobile. As hard as it is to ignore that buzz or beep on my cellphone (they always sound so urgent!) I try to focus on what is in front of me, whether it is a person, speaker or more often, a car.

    I do take notes on my PC, though, and I'm not that good a typist, so I look at the keyboard a lot

  5. bolaji ojo
    September 21, 2012

    Barbara, If you want to know how right Al Maag is, just check out how people that have been able to get their hands on the new iPhone 5. These folks will spend a lot of time on their phones and won't take the time as Al suggested to get up, meet and nourish friendships.

  6. Barbara Jorgensen
    September 21, 2012

    Bolaji: Maybe they meet and greet while they are waiting in the long Apple Store lines. More likely, they are trying to sell their iPhone 4 on eBay, which brings us full circle to Al's original point. Sigh…

  7. bolaji ojo
    September 21, 2012

    Barbara, Quite right. They meet and greet but not in the traditional ways (who does that anymore?). They just wave bluetooth-enabled iPhones at each and flash messages like: “May the Apple be with you.”

    That's certainly good for Apple and other hardware manufacturers but perhaps not for our social skills! Since nobody is selling social skills enhancement products, it's a loss we're learning to live with and soon the next-generation would think we are oddities, that is, if they don't already.

  8. bolaji ojo
    September 21, 2012

    Let me scare you even more. Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple is looking to the future and he believes that 40 years from now, Apple would release the iPhone45, which would be so “good” he wouldn't “want you humans”, that is, he won't need to be near humans anymore. It's frightening. Want more? Click the following: Woz on iPhone in 40 Years: “I won't want you humans.”

  9. Barbara Jorgensen
    September 21, 2012


    They meet and greet but not in the traditional ways (who does that anymore?). They just wave bluetooth-enabled iPhones at each and flash messages like: “May the Apple be with you.”

    Even the folks on Star Trek did a fair amount of face-to-face; or face to visage, depending on the species.

    Too funny, and too weird.

    Apple has created a schism in my extended family: the iPhone users, and everyone else. Jobs, wherever he is, must be having a good laugh at our expense.

  10. Barbara Jorgensen
    September 21, 2012

    Woz clearly hasn't seen The Terminator movies recently…

  11. _hm
    September 21, 2012

    I like Siri, but it needs to imrpove a lot with more AI and memory.

    (1) Siri should have audio visual sensor, detects my mood and starts talk with me appropriately – alomst my friend.

    (2) Siri should also remember what we talked earlier.


  12. Al Maag
    September 22, 2012

    great tell me how some of that trip goes

  13. Al Maag
    September 22, 2012

    funny, thats exactly what I hope from my staff

  14. itguyphil
    September 22, 2012

    Hey there's an app for that…

    Type n Walk

  15. _hm
    September 22, 2012

    @pocharle: Does Siri sing lullaby of choice?


  16. elctrnx_lyf
    September 23, 2012

    I completely agree. Many people lost in their devices during midst of the meetings and seminars. But this is only going to be more addiction in the future.

  17. hash.era
    September 23, 2012

    Absolutely since Siri is limited geographically it is not the best solution to have. If they are to market using Siri they should make Siri compatible with all Geographical locations. Siri was the main factor which categorized iPhone 4 to 4s but whats the purpose if Siri has limited geographical locations ?

  18. itguyphil
    September 25, 2012

    Who knows? Maybe it will in iOS 7…

  19. Himanshugupta
    September 26, 2012

    I completely agree that we do not network like we used to do. Though technology has made us live closer to our friends and relatives but it has made our circle limited in some sense. 

  20. Mr. Roques
    September 26, 2012

    Just yesterday I was at a Stand Up comedian show. The comedian was joking that in the last couple of years his job has gotten a lot more difficult. 

    1. His jokes are all over the internet from people recording them using their phones and posting them online. Or tweeting the jokes, etc.

    2. People are more distracted with their phones (from point 1) and hence, pay less attention, less energy, less satisfaction, fewer people go based on that, etc.

    It perfectly reflects other professions.

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