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Say what, Siri?

May 15, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • Siri, a voice-activated assistant program, on the Apple iPhone 4S.
Siri, a voice-activated assistant program, on the Apple iPhone 4S. (Los Angeles Times )

Your iPhone has been brainwashed, reprogrammed even. Apple is putting words in Siri's mouth. That seems to be what a Nokia spokeswoman has said about Siri's response on which smartphone is tops.

Apple offers Siri up as an intelligent assistant, "but clearly if they don't like the answer, they override the software," said Nokia spokeswoman Tracy Postill, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Last week, a video and post made the rounds showing how Siri pointed to Nokia's Lumia 900 when asked about the top phone.

When we asked her highness the same question on Friday, she became rather irked that we would deign to even suggest any phone but she was superior. Her replies to our query went from "the one in your hand" to "You're kidding, right?" (If she were actually human, there might have been a neck roll, eye narrowing or lip pursing to accompany her answer -- but, trust me, it was implied in her semi-robotic tone. Everyone around me heard it.)

To be fair (to Siri, I guess), in the video she never actually uttered the words "Lumia 900." Instead, after much thought, she said "I found this for you" and called up a Wolfram Alpha search results page, gleaned by sifting through reviews and comments.

Amusingly enough, when you ask the Lumia 900 the same question via Bing, the first result, albeit paid, is iPhone 4S.

Maybe we could chalk it up to mutual admiration.

Apparently, we're all itching for a bare-knuckles smartphone skirmish because headlines across the Web are declaring "bias" and results "rigging" -- yes, and brainwashing.

Our efforts for a response from Nokia are as yet unanswered. According to the BBC, Nokia officials said the earlier comments were "lighthearted" and "taken out of context," but that they were "flattered and honored" by the phone's answer in the video.

As for this little cellphone dust-up, I can imagine Siri's response would mirror my own: "You're kidding, right?"

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