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How Seniors Can Use Siri, Apple's Assistant, to Make Life Easier

by Frank Herold

Today's seniors have an opportunity that last century's generations didn't have, which is an electronic tool that they can communicate with vocally. Siri, found on Apple products, is a voice-activated computer program that literally provides vocal information when asked certain questions or instructed to perform certain tasks. Here are ways this remarkable interactive technology can make lives easier for seniors.

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Siri's Artificial Intelligence

Siri stands for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface and is not to be confused with Sirius Satellite Radio. It is a component of Apple's iOS platform for its mobile devices and in car use.

The program is capable of making recommendations and performing functions that at one time would have been considered science fiction, but is now technically artificial intelligence. Originally an app developed by SRI Artificial Intelligence Center patterned after a U.S. defense project, it was acquired by Apple then introduced to the public in 2011.

How Siri Helps Seniors

By pressing a "home button" on an Apple device or clicking a microphone icon on a screen, you can communicate with the user-friendly program.

The program can be used in hundreds of ways, such as asking for directions, time and day, news, weather conditions, upcoming events, stock prices and sports scores. It can also be used for email, messaging and managing contacts. The program can even respond to humorous questions. Not only can it speak to people in English, it is capable of speaking several languages. Essentially, this program can be used as a voice-activated internet search engine.

Common siri Conversations for seniors

Here are some of the most widely used types of questions and commands that can initiate a conversation with Siri:

"Turn off all alarms"
"Wake me up in two hours"
"Set the timer for ten minutes"
"Remind me to take my medication at noon"
"Send an email to my daughter"
"Read my emails"
"Add lettuce and tomatoes to my grocery list"
"Play a Frank Sinatra song"
"What are the nearest restaurants?"
"Search for diabetic recipes"

The above examples are just some of many different ways to talk with Siri. As time goes on the technology will certainly improve and allow more possibilities. For now, it's a useful tool for keeping seniors active and providing them with easy access to information and entertainment. While it's important not to let this form of artificial intelligence completely replace human interaction, this technology clearly helps seniors remember and learn important considerations.

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