Do you talk to your digital personal assistant in public?


My local theater plays classic films on Tuesdays throughout the year, and most recently it played Jaws so, as I have every year in recent times, I planted myself in a seat and watched my favorite movie on the big screen. I got there early, as I usually do, and it was pretty packed, which was nice to see.

And while I could go on for ages about the film itself, this is actually about Apple’s AirPods, and, more specifically, Siri.

I’ve seen AirPods in the wild before, but not here locally, so it was a bit of a surprise. The guy only had one in, as he was with a group of people and he was busy in conversation more often than not, but then he did something I really wasn’t expecting: He used Siri.

This is indeed the first time that I’ve seen this happen. I’ve used the digital personal assistant with the AirPods only once, and . . . It was fine? I guess. But, ultimately, my use case isn’t one that needs to access Siri from the wireless headphones. I had imagined that there were folks out there using Siri with the AirPods, but I honestly never thought I’d see it happen outside of a YouTube video.

My shock and awe didn’t stop there, either. Because what happened next was pretty hilarious. The guy was asking the next time a baseball team plays. A simple enough question. Or at least one might assume it is. He wasn’t just asking the day, but the time, and I guess Siri was simply not willing to provide the answer he was looking for.

But, points for persistence because he didn’t just try once, or even twice — but more than a handful of times! And he just kept getting more flustered the longer it went on. To make things worse, when that didn’t work he tried to turn the volume down on whatever it was he was listening to, and I guess Siri had just had enough, too, because even that didn’t work to his liking.

The people he was with were having a blast laughing at him, but he was a good sport and laughed at the situation, too.

I don’t have any idea what was causing the problem, even if it was hilarious to watch unfold. When I did use Siri with the AirPods, when they first launched, changing the volume seemed to work just fine. Then again, it’s technology and anything is possible on any given day, so who knows. The sports question definitely through me off, because, at least for me, that’s one of the things that alwaysworks — for me, at least.

The whole thing got me wondering about a future where we’re all using digital personal assistants out in public. Google wants us to use Assistant, Microsoft would love if we all used Cortana, and Apple wants all of its device owners to use Siri. And we’ve seen plenty of Sci-Fi films where talking to software is normal. I don’t think we’re there yet, and I can’t help but wonder if that guy turned off Siri controls on the AirPods after that.

Do you ever use a digital personal assistant while you’re in public? And I mean with voice controls! If you use the AirPods, do you have Siri access turned on? If so, how well does it work for you? Let me know!

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