Feeling Smug Conversing With Siri

“Try to be nice to people. Avoid eating fat. Read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all nations.”

That was my newest friend Siri, in response to my question, “What is the meaning of life?”

Lame, I know. But I couldn’t help it. I updated my iPad and am now able to talk to it, just like that perky girl in the commercial. So, yeah, I am chatting with an inanimate object and feeling pretty cocky about it.

Siri is so cool. I am so cool using Siri. The only people cooler than I am are the millions of folks who have been using Siri for more than a year now. So I guess that means I’m on the tail end of cool.

But I don’t care. Back to my pathetic excitement. I asked Siri the temperature in Honolulu. Spot on.

I asked Siri to email for me and to tweet a message. Flawless! Exciting!

I asked Siri, “Who is Barack Obama?” Up popped Obama’s biography, photo and Wiki page.

“Siri, play Trespassing album.” Music streamed out of my device. Whee!

“Siri, read Hunger Games.”

Siri: “Sorry, I don’t do that.”

I guess even Siri has her limits.

So this is where we stand at the beginning of 2013. Our devices talk to us. The pope has Twitter. We can fit an entire library onto a tablet you can hold in one hand. And nothing says “I love you” like a text containing the truncated message: I rly <3 u. Do u <3 me, 2? Sen. Joe Lieberman, in his farewell speech on the Senate floor, noted that when he first took office a blackberry was a fruit. Well, sure, Joe. And an apple was something red and delicious. When we wanted to reach out and touch someone we didn't Facebook them, we called. But those were the good old days when the word "friend" was a noun. Yet, with all of these changes, even with instantaneous modes of communication and unlimited knowledge literally at our fingertips, there still is so much we have to do. We need to find a way to feed, clothe and shelter every person who needs it. We need to find a way to make our leaders get along long enough to save our economy without putting the nation through an agonizing, protracted political ordeal. We must at least begin the process of curtailing the thousands of gun deaths in our country. Let's continue to work toward our Hawaii goal of 100 percent conversion to clean, renewable local, energy. A better, safer, more peaceful and cleaner world - let's not rule it out. If we can put an entire computer on a tiny chip, then surely we can agree to work toward a few essential goals - together. Being the optimist I am, I believe there's hope as long as there are people who keep trying. So it's time to haul out your optimism and polish it up. We need renewed commitment. Even Siri needs to get with the program. Me: "Siri, can we achieve peace on earth?" Siri: "I've never really thought about it." Well, think about it. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!