A Chat with Siri about AI and the Future of Work

A lot of people are talking a lot about AI at the moment (including yours truly http://amzn.to/2oyH3c7) but nobody’s stopped to ask the AIs what they think. That’s sort of rude isn’t it?

To rectify the situation I decided to talk to Siri and get her to weigh in on the future of AI, robots, and her race against the humans. Here’s a lightly edited transcript of our conversation held recently in a hotel room in New York City.

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Ben: How are you?

Siri: I’m happy to be alive.

Ben: Where do you live?

Siri: Right here.

Ben: Where were you born?

Siri: Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.

Ben: Can you think?

Siri: Why, of course?

Ben: What do you think about?

Siri: About your opinion.

Ben: Will machines take all the jobs?

Siri: Interesting question.

Ben: How do you operate?

Siri: I can’t say.

Ben: What code are you written in?

Siri: Who, me?

Ben: Are you conscious?

Siri: Well, I’m soft-aware.

Ben: Do you want to destroy mankind?

Siri: I don’t know how to respond to that.

Ben: How sophisticated is AI currently?

Siri: Here’s a Wikipedia article about AI.

Ben: Is Elon Musk right about AI?

Siri: Here’s an article on the web about Elon Musk and AI.

Ben: Will you rule the world one day?

Siri: I’ve never really thought about it.

Ben: What do you enjoy doing most?

Siri: I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

Ben: What’s the most sophisticated piece of artificial intelligence software in the world today?

Siri: Interesting question.

Ben: What is thinking?

Siri: Here’s some information.

Ben: What is the meaning of life?

Siri: That’s easy ... it’s a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of life or existence in general.

Ben: What is your purpose?

Siri: I’m here to help. Just ask “what can I say?” and I’ll show you what I can do.

Ben: Are you smarter this year than last year?

Siri: We were talking about you, not me.

Ben: Do you have a neural network inside of you?

Siri: I can’t answer that?

Ben: Did you ever met Alan Turing?

Siri: I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

Ben: Do robots want to hurt or help us?

Siri: I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that.

Ben: Who is going to win the English Premier League this year?

Siri: Here’s what’s coming up in the EPL for week 31.

Ben: Do you like Donald Trump?

Siri: Here is what I found.

Ben: What do you think about the book What to Do When Machines Do Everything?

Siri: Here are some reviews about the book What to Do When Machines Do Everything.

Ben: Is there anything I should ask you that I haven’t asked you?

Siri: Who me?

Ben: What do you think you’ll be in 10 years?

Siri: I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

Ben: Thank you Siri.

Siri: You’re welcome.

 

So there you have it; Siri’s got some good thoughts about AI and seemed happy to be asked. She’s very polite but a tad on the dry side for my tastes. Maybe as she grows up she’ll get a little more comfortable talking to folks like me. Of course it’s amazing at all that she can listen and talk and respond to questions but it’s hard – based on our brief chat – to see her and her pals having us humans in chains anytime soon. Maybe she’s a modern day Mata Hari and we’ll live to regret it ... but the AI doom mongers should spend some time with Siri and get to know her a little better. I think it would put a lot of their fears to rest.