Alexa, OK Google, Siri–Which gives Catholic information?

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The truth is, we’re all cyborgs with cell phones and online identities.–Geoff Johns,

I was intrigued by a YouTube video in which a comic, Steven Crowder, got Alexa, the echo device, to say that Jesus Christ was a fictional character.   Now all these search and information devices are (sometimes) a blessing, a boon, and a wonderful tool.

Nevertheless, I have asked myself “how reliable is the information you get from these artificial semi-intelligences?”    So I proposed a mini-test, relevant to my own situation, and easily carried out.   I have a new Kindle HD8  (uses Alexa), an Apple Iphone 5s which uses Siri, and my son–visiting over the holidays–an android device with OK Google.   So, here was the test.  “Is there a nearby Catholic Church?”  (All devices had my location.)    And here are the results:

Alexa gave me the name “Red Roof Inn” (I wonder where that came from?) and the address about 2 miles away of that establishment;

OK Google gave me the name “St. Joseph Church,” the address and Mass times;

Siri gave me the name “St. Joseph Church”,  the address and phone number.

The two answers about St. Joseph Church were correct.  Draw your own conclusions.

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  1. Of course, these entities are up to other things as well.
    My wife got a hand-me-down iPad. At one point she couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. Neither could I, so I asked Siri. Siri couldn’t answer (self preservation, perhaps?). After several frustrating tries I blurted out “Where is the nearest gay bar?” Siri knew that answer!

  2. All any of them do is a web-search and then read off the result– I would be curious what Alexia’s search engine is, but eh.

    I am *cough* greatly lacking in enthusiasm for “smart” devices.

    (You want outrage? me trying to find a Catholic church on the official website, and the times are STILL wrong, that gets me outraged….)

  3. It’s a fun little exercise I suppose, but why would anyone with a working intellect depend on one of these devices for any but the most basic information? I guess I just answered my own question. 🙂

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