When Apple announced the addition of an A.I. secretary as an upcoming feature on the iPhone, zealous techies and sci-fi nerds alike had high hopes for this futuristic assistant. Lovingly nicknamed “Siri”, but formally known as Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface, the technology was expected by the starry-eyed masses to function as seamlessly as Samantha in the Oscar winning film Her or perhaps even as well as an actual secretary straight out of the 1950s. However, when first introduced in October of 2011, iPhone users quickly ascertained that Siri functioned less like a humanistically intelligent robot and more like a baby alien.
From embracing a controversial stance on a social, and increasingly political issue to giving the most sassy response when prompted with a simple math equation, Siri is far from the perfect assistant. Yet one of her most prominent foibles is her lack of fluency, and more specifically her inability to pronounce our names. While most of us just have to suffer through her clunky articulations, living legend Barbara Streisand decided she wouldn’t stand for it.
In an interview with NPR, the 74-year-old icon revealed she was fed up with Siri’s mispronunciation of her famed name. “She pronounces my name wrong! [It’s] Streisand with a soft ‘s’ like sand on the beach, I’ve been saying this for my whole career,” the illustrious singer-songwriter explained. Upon personal journalistic investigation, this does appear to be the case as Siri stresses the second S in the EGOT’s name as if it were a Z.
While most of us would simply employ the AI’s new feature that allows you to teach her specific pronunciations, Streisand took a more direct route in solving the problem. “I called the head of Apple, Tim Cook, and he delightfully agreed to have Siri change the pronunciation of my name, finally, with the next update on Sep. 30.”
Amongst the glamour and the fortune, a direct line to Apple’s esteemed CEO appears to be a benefit of modern celebrity.