Hey Siri, say Please.

Siri doesn’t use or teach us good manners. Siri doesn’t acknowledge the use of the word “please”. She often adds it to the query as part of the demand. Recently, whilst writing a paper, I asked Siri what a synonym of “develop” was. Here’s my query :

“Hey Siri, what’s a synonym of ‘develop’, please?”

Siri’s response, I found curious, as it included the word “please” as part of my query.

“OK, I’ve found this on the web for ‘synonym of develop please’.

Does Siri ignore pleasantries ? Does Siri want you to be curt and to the point ? Does it say more about American society — and frankly world society — that barking commands at an inanimate object, without a basic amount of respect, is to be viewed as normal. To where will it extend ?

Would it be acceptable to snap at the McDonalds’ Restaurant Crew without saying please ? Clearly I don’t think so, but Siri, in a very subtle way, is teaching us to do just that.

I would hope that it would be simple to implement a change that could recognise politeness, the please and thank-you’s if you will, and respond to them accordingly. Perhaps Apple should go further and prompt you to say please once in a while, to solicit and promote good behaviour. Surely that can’t be a bad thing ?

I’m aware that I could reorder the phrase to make life easier for Siri ; “Please could you …” or Could you please …” but I was using a very common position in the phrase of the word please, as it is a more natural request.

For information, I’m not specifically targeting Siri. She is the tool I currently use, being as I can’t buy an Echo or Google Home where I live. Is it the the same for these too ?

I think we can do better.

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