Apple’s most popular application for the iPhone has saturated the blogosphere, coffee breaks and skits on late-night television. For parents, Siri is a dream come true – a personal concierge at the tip of your fingers. But, what about children? What effect will Siri have on the next generation? Below is a snapshot of what children may be losing from a personal assistant on their cell phone.
1) The Ability To Make Decisions
Siri makes decisions for you. When you ask Siri for the best pizza shop, the application streamlines the decision making process by providing a suggestion. This recommendation is not the byproduct of an independent search, but filtered from a list of Apple affiliates. It is one thing to type a question into Google or Bing and you decide which result is more reliable, and it is another for an application to reach that conclusion for you.
2) The Ability To Ask Questions
Siri eases anxieties of asking classmates, colleagues and neighbors questions. You ask a question, and it can provide you the answer or research responses on the web at your request. You never have to worry about sounding unintelligent because Siri is so polite. But, learning how to ask “dumb” questions at a young age is integral to personal and professional development. What are the consequences if the next generation evades asking their peers questions? Maybe we should ask Siri.
3) The Ability to Interact With Others
Siri is funny. We know this. For the existential questions about life and current events, Siri has a response and even better, Siri is witty. Yet, if we are looking for humor or engagement, do we want to be reliant upon technology? Communicating through social media is a major innovation in sharing ideas and cultivating communities. Communication with Siri may be a tremendous diversion from that path because instead of communicating with each other, we are communicating with a machine.
While we cannot deny the potential of Siri, we do need to be cognizant of its implications. Siri certainly will reduce the time handling administrative tasks, and as a result, ideally will create more opportunities for us to do what we enjoy. However, as we teach the next generation to think for themselves, ask questions and develop friendships afterschool, let’s encourage them to look around and not down.