Folks, we need to talk about Siri.
It has, on a number of recent occasions, been brought up among staff at Gizmodo that Siri’s hands-free help in a number of environments is considerably lacking—including and especially in the kitchen.
Questions often go unanswered, requests for volume control unheard, and god help you if you need Apple’s virtual assistant to pull up a recipe or navigate between your webpages. Siri, I’m afraid to say, absolutely sucks at being even minimally useful while you’re cooking. Siri will make you huff in exasperation after the third time you’ve repeated a simple request. It will test the limits of both your patience as well as what you thought you understood to be technologically possible in the year 2020. Siri will make you wonder why you use Siri at all and why you continue to torment yourself with repeated regret and disappointment.
Siri is absolutely useless as a kitchen helper. Just painfully, utterly useless.
I want to be clear that I’ve tried absolutely everything to make the codependent relationship I have with my phone’s supposed genius far less fraught. I speak loudly and slowly. I opt not to turn my music or broadcast up too loud for fear that Siri might miss a command. I keep questions simple and expectations low for a returned answer. And yet the Google Home Mini that occupies a small corner of my kitchen has no trouble navigating my music, answering my stray cooking questions, and will read me what it has found while scouring the web before sending it to a connected smart device with a display. How very helpful!
When questioned similarly, Siri often returns a webpage with a response that seems to say, “Here, read this you moronic know-nothing, you blithering fool. Would you like me to wash your windows while I’m at it, asshole?” I’m sorry I asked!
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It’s not just the kitchen, either. Using Siri with CarPlay is a huge pain in the ass. I must repeat my instructions multiple times, every time, without fail. Sometimes Siri comes through on a request for a particular artist I’m trying to listen to—other times not so much. And dictation through messages is, well, fine. Siri can dial numbers too, which is helpful. Stray reminders? Yep, good there. Check the weather, tell you the time? Check and check.
But god help you if you have to go hands-free in the kitchen. You will curse your phone. You will wonder why you’ve bought into the Apple ecosystem, why you’re putting your family through hearing you scream the same instructions at a gadget over and over, increasingly louder and more strained until you’re nearly hoarse. Cooking will lose much of its joy, in part thanks to the emotional exhaustion that goes hand-in-hand with directing your errant robot helper to please—for the love of god, please—play the correct podcast or answer a simple question without deferring to Safari.
I’m not suggesting we give up on Siri entirely, of course. But reader, a very good kitchen assistant Siri is decidedly not.