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I, robot: Apple debuts Siri Add to ...

No, I will not call your mother and I have no goddamn idea how far away Jupiter is.

People have been asking me a lot of stupid questions lately, and if Steve Jobs hadn't just died, I'd be cursing his name for co-opting mine.

Since Apple announced that its new iPhone 4S came with a personal assistant feature named Siri, my name is no longer my own.

It is now best known as an electronic application that will do everything from finding you a nearby restaurant to telling you the meaning of life (42, obvs). It has trended on Twitter, splashed across headlines and become the toast of the global technorati.

People seem to love the new Siri, calling it revolutionary, sassy and even sly.

I was never so helpful, smart or funny.

Apple's Siri seems to be named for its developer, SRI International Artificial Intelligence Center. My own parents claim to have seen the odd collection of letters in the credits of an Ingmar Bergman movie, although the other Siri would probably quickly point out that IMDB does not support that claim.

Growing up in a world of Jennifers and Katies, I searched in vain to find my name on key chains and Disney trinkets. Other kids called me Cereal Eggroll, Sears and Serial Killer.

My name was regularly mispronounced, mocked and maligned.

When people would meet me for the first time, they often expressed surprise that I was not South Asian, as Siri is apparently an Indian honorific.

In North America, the name is so unusual that when The Globe and Mail published a Facts & Arguments essay by another woman named Siri, I received notes of congratulations, even though this Siri was writing about her journey coming out as a Japanese-Canadian lesbian.

When Apple unveiled its Siri, the jokes came into my (now hopelessly outdated) iPhone fast and furious.

I was congratulated on my new gig and inundated with jokes about my own accuracy issues and annoying, nasal voice.

On Twitter, Mike Miner, a producer for TVO's The Agenda, had this to say: “The last time I told you to mix me a drink you punched me in the eye. Can't see how this thing will do any worse.”

My husband found it hilarious when Sam Grobart, a personal tech columnist for The New York Times, pronounced that you can talk to Siri “very naturally, almost as if you're talking to another person.”

But I wasn't laughing when Mr. Grobart added that Siri “is very clever about stalling. It gives you the impression that actual work is being done.” That one hit a bit too close to home.

In some ways, though, Apple has done me a tremendous favour.

It's unlikely that many people will name their children Siri now. It's one thing to be supposedly named after a character in the film of an iconic Swedish director. It's entirely different to be christened after a servile smart-phone function.

The ubiquity of Internet chatter about the new Siri has also provided me with a welcome Google screen. I'm no longer the first Siri to pop up, which is probably a good thing. My future indiscretions and embarrassing articles will now be well hidden beneath an electronic mountain of iPhone reviews.

It was fun, too, to see my name trending on Twitter without having to kill anyone, say something inappropriate about Justin Bieber or quit my job and write a screed against the decline of mainstream journalism.

My friends seemingly got great pleasure out of sending me the link to a Tumblr page called Shit that Siri Says. (You all can stop sending me that now. I've seen it. Hilarious.) And the more I learn about the new Siri, the more I feel an affinity for my inanimate namesake.

We actually seem to have a lot in common. Apple's Siri can be a bit of a smartass. She seems to be up on her pop culture. We both rely on the Internet for almost all of our knowledge, are impatient with idiotic inquiries and dislike disclosing our ages.

Yes, I will have to deal with being the lesser Siri, but perhaps that is better than being the only one.

It could have been worse, I suppose. My parents could have called me BlackBerry.

Siri Agrell is a reporter for The Globe and Mail.

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