A dumb conversation with a smartphone

I have a love/hate relationship with technology in general, and smartphones in particular. I love what these gadgets can do. But I hate what they're doing to us — turning us into distracted, mindless freaks, heads perpetually looking down at our palms as we become more impervious to the real world around us.

So I totally support the Broward School District's push to ban gadget use among drivers/parents in school zones. I don't know what the penalty can be, but I know what it should be: Immediate seizure and destruction of the phones, preferably by hurling them into the path of an oncoming cement truck.

I've interviewed thousands of people over my career, but never a machine. Until now. Here's a 100 percent true transcript of a recent conversation I had with Siri, the iPhone's talking concierge.

Me: Hello Siri, how are you?

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Siri: I am well.

Me: What's the temperature in Sochi, Russia?

S: It's currently 48 degrees in Sochi, Russia.

Me: How will they have a Winter Olympics in Sochi if it's so warm?

S: I found 15 sushi restaurants a little ways from you [screen displays map of local Japanese restaurants].

Me: Siri, where were you made?

S: Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.

Me: But where were you manufactured?

S: I Siri, was designed by Apple in California.

Me: Do you have anything to do with China?

S: I can't answer that.

Me: What do you mean?

S: I respect you.

Me: OK, so answer my question. Have you ever been to China?

S: No, not yet [screen displays nearest Chinese restaurant].

Me: Is it true that Chinese slave labor makes these phones?