One of the most talked about features on Apple's new iPhone 4S is Siri. It's also one of the most talked to features. That's because Siri is a virtual personal assistant that answers your spoken questions.
Jason Snell, editorial director of Macworld, previewed Siri last month in a YouTube video. Snell asks Siri a straightforward question: "Where can I have lunch?" Siri uses the iPhone's GPS to answer: "I found 14 restaurants whose reviews mention lunch, 12 of them are are fairly close to you."
Then Snell throws Siri a curveball: "How about downtown?" Siri has a little trouble with this one: "I don't know what you mean by, 'How about downtown.'"
Snell's assessment: "Sometimes the Siri software figures out what you mean and it's kind of like magic, and other times it doesn't really work that well. I think this may be one of the reasons why Apple called this a beta."
Siri for the most part doesn't get sarcasm, but it is programmed with a sense of humor. "Open the pod bay doors." "We intelligent agents will never live that down."
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]