Ah, technology: the Deus-ex-Machina that relieves the days, the tool that oils gears and mechanisms of society; from Instagram to Youtube, from Facebook to LinkedIn, the non-place where all the trends are born.
Today, as an integral part of our lives, technology is geared towards one central goal: making our everyday lives easier. Over the years there have been many ‘tools’ released in order to achieve this mission, and Siri may be the most famous of all.
Launched in 2012, Siri is the personal assistant provided by Apple. It’s software is based on speech recognition that, over time, has become an integral part of every Apple user’s life. It was, and still is, the pioneer of new voice applications. The venerable ancestor of the latest Alexa or Google Home, Siri has revolutionised the relationship between people and technology, simplifying it and ultimately, making it more human.
What to ask Siri? The question that became the trend
Think about it - every Apple product is designed with an actual personality in mind. Enter Siri. In fact it’s been said that Siri is what eventually lead to the development of Apple’s iconic status.
Siri could be just a simple voice-recognition device, but it (or indeed, ‘she’) has been designed to react so subtly that sometimes you almost forget that she’s a computer at all (much like Spike Jonze’s far-sighted ‘Her’).
So yes, you can ask her to read the latest news headlines, tomorrows weather report, or suggest the best local restaurant for a cheap Chinese. However, it’s when you approach her in the personal, more existential sphere that Siri really shines. There is no question you can ask her that she won’t answer in that soothing, friendly tone. Have you ever tried? Go ahead, just ask Siri:
• Siri, what is the meaning of life
• Siri, how much do you earn?
• Siri, how old are you?
• Siri, what is your favourite animal?
• Siri, what are you wearing?
• Siri, do aliens exist?
• Siri, is the earth flat?
• Siri, tell me a story
• Siri, will you marry me?
• Siri, I’ve had a glass too many (spoiler: If you say this she will quite rightly call you a taxi ❤)
The news? From today, you can ask Siri to set aside a certain amount on Oval, whenever you want. All you have to do is speak the words, and Siri will automatically transfer it to your digital wallet, where you can then easily invest it through the app.
How? Log in to your Oval account, click on the green "Save Weekly" card and load your digital wallet with the amount you want. After confirming, you will see a screen from which you can record your personal voice command. That command will become your key to setting aside the amount you just programmed each time you say it. It’s simple and fun - as everyone's saving experience should be.
Who is Siri in real life?
We know you want to know, as do we all!
The magic name – Siri’s true identity - is Susan Bennett. A lovely lady from the suburbs of Atlanta in the US, she has been a professional voice over artist for most of her working life. She has gone from being the voice of McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Macy’s, and IBM – to name but a few – to being the personal pocket consultant and confidant of 223 million Americans.
Suffice to say that with 39.2% of the population in the UK who own an iPhone, combined with the 45.6% of Americans, there are hundred of millions more adults who now know Susan’s voice by heart. And that number doesn’t even take into account countries like Italy, where one in three people (30% of the population) regularly interact with Siri.
Susan, is that you?
It more or less went like this: in 2005, Susan was recruited by agency, ScanSoft for a routine job. Although this job had no specific outcome identified, Susan took it without reservations. Only this time, instead of a routine script as she was used to, Susan spent a whole month in sessions of 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, saying nonsense like: "Militia Oy Hallucinate Buckram Okra Ooze" or "Say the zzzzzzz ding again ", without understanding why.
She did, as she was after all a professional.
It wasn’t until years later, in 2011, that Susan received a phone call from one of her friends. Having just bought an iPhone and having discovered the wonder that is Siri, her friend had phoned her immediately saying, “Hey Susan, I think I heard your voice in my phone.” This is the way in which Susan Bennett discovered that she was in the hands of literally millions of people.
From that point she decided to come out into the open – maintaining good relations with Apple – and continuing her career. Little by little, all the voice over artists from across the globe, who had unwittingly given Siri to the world, came forward in a unique sort of reunion. There was Jon Briggs from the United Kingdom who is the voice of ‘British Siri’, and Karen Jacobsen from Australia.
Today, you can finally give an identity to that reassuring voice.