Final Thoughts: Siri and Machine Learning

As the semester begins to close, I am reflecting on some topics that interest me


In the Machine Learning piece, Martin and Jurafsky, helped me gather some fundamentals on my inquiries. When we de-black box this, we can see there is no perfect way to translate something, especially how I mentioned before that the “perfect” translation doesn’t exist in all of the same locations, since not all language is “universal”. They say, “Technical texts are not translated in the same way as literary texts. A specific text concerns a world that is remote from the world of the reader in the target language. The translator has to choose between saying close to the original text or making use of paraphrasing to ensure comprehension. The tone and style of the text are highly subjective” (Machine Learning, pg. 19). This got me thinking, How, can we trust machine translation or google translate so much if it is impossible to gain 100% accuracy? Where does this trust reside?

( week 7 )

From the Wikipedia article this week, Siri was defined as, “the virtual assistant for Apple systems that uses voice queries and natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions through requests of the internet. The software adapts to the user’s individual language usages, searches, preferences, etc. The results are personalized” (Wikipedia, Siri, pg. 1). This helped me pieces together what it really is doing and how it’s a personal experience and technology. This made me raise the question of now that I know this and some basic layers to how the voice recognition works, what else can we do with siri? 

I wanted to look for other outside material to help answer my question, since its pretty standard that siri is just basically a voice over platform that we use to speak into in order to receive some type of mediated response or aid to an inquiry. According to writer Todd Haselton, for CNBC, with the competing rise to Google Assistant, we can now talk to Google Assistant, THROUGH your Siri. This new technology is basically Google’s own version of Siri, which is somewhat funny that you can use the competition to open up the other app. When you do this, you must APPROVE the ability to pair Siri with your downloaded google assistant, assuring the same voice over controls. When you’re ready, you say, “Hey Siri, OK GOOGLE” (Haselton, pg.1). This allows the Siri to approve your voice and open up the Google assistant instead.

( week 8 )


For this week, I wanted to add more readings. One article that stood out in particular was The Verge piece that discussed the ethical side to AI a bit further. They discuss a more European way to enhance the ethical and privacy issues that they face with AI and made a list of 7 things that they feel is the most important and needs work. In their list they say, “human agency and oversight, more safety, securing privacy and data, better transparency for humans to explain the algorithms chosen and implemented, more diversity and fairness, sustainable technology that will promote well-being rather than changing it, and more accountable on restoring privacy and further updates to the technology. (The Verge, pg.1).

For me I found this article really important in relation to my class connections that I have made over the semester. I think the most important role in AI that I have learned in the privacy, and code of ethics that must be implemented in these technologies that have not only given rise to their advancements but their disadvantages too, which of course can be a huge issue.

All of this is helpful in guiding me towards preparing for my final project. I met with Dr. Irvine and we helped narrow down my interests in this issue and how it plays a role in Apple products, like Siri. I took the most interest in our virtual assistant and privacy week work. I think this would be a great topic and issue to look into and gather a socio-technical-historical approach to the technology and incorporate the development, ownership, production, and implementation of Siri, and the future of where it’s going. I appreciate Siri and its ability to aid so much in our every-day lives. In connection to this reading, this would be a great example and issue to pull in my literature review and see what other pieces of literature I can find on this issue and other key features to Siri, from then until now.

A question I have developed is with recent advancements, research, and reports on AI ethics and privacy, where do the boundaries get drawn when we look ahead towards the future? Where do the limitations start and end? What will the future of AI look like with these advancements in place? I look forward to unpacking more answers and insight to these questions in the remainder of the course and final paper.


Haselton, T. (2018, November 21). You can now talk to Google Assistant through Siri on your iPhone here’s how. Retrieved March 12, 2019.


Daniel Jurafsky and James H. Martin, Speech and Language Processing: An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Speech Recognition, 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall, 2008).