The Heartwarming Story Of An 11-Year-Old's New Technological Friend

The Heartwarming Story of An 11-Year-Old's New Technological Friend

For most of us, Siri or Google Now (or Cortana, if you swing that way) is a minor help at best, a first-world solution to the first-world problem of not being able to text and drive. But as Judith Newman illustrates today in a heartfelt and heart-warming piece in the New York Times, Apple's digital assistant has become a lifeline for her autistic son.

Newman tells the tale of her autistic son, Gus, and his relationship with Siri, which seemingly takes on the role of a modern imaginary friend. According to Newman, Siri has not only become a companion for Gus, but has also helped him with improving his conversational skills.

More than a practical documentation of the usefulness of personal assistants, though (not to overlook that crucially important message, of course), it's a legitimately touching story about the unintended benefits that technology can have. It's definitely worth setting aside ten minutes of your weekend to read. [New York Times]


    Makes total sense. Both input and output are spoken and written, with the speech output always being the same, no matter how many times you ask the same question. For someone with autism or asperges it is far easier to communicate when the subtleties of facial expressions, body language, tone and speed are removed and all that is left is straight data, with little room for interpretation.

    How long till a team makes an AI that can pass a Turing test? This would be a great use for early model AI's.

      Someone already has, haven't they?

        Sort of... The criteria it passed by were pretty lame. The assessors were told that one respondent was an AI, and the other was a 9 yr old boy with English as a second language. Really don't think that counts.

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