Mitch Albom: A Siri-ous Disconnect

Mitch Albom says we're getting so cozy with our smartphones, we're forgetting to connect with each other.

By Mitch Albom from The Detroit Free Press
Mitch Albom: A Siri-ous DisconnectIllustration by Victor Jushasz

I’m not talking.

Not to a phone.

It may be all the rage for celebrities in iPhone commercials to have pithy exchanges with Siri, the female-sounding voice assistant, but if you ask me, they just sound stupid.

Like actress Zooey Deschanel, in her pajamas, telling her iPhone, “Remind me to clean up … tomorrow.” Really? If you can’t remember to do your chores, how can you remember to check the phone? What if you can’t find it because the place is a mess? How about reminding you to get out of your pajamas?

Or Samuel L. Jackson telling Siri, “Find me a store that sells organic mushrooms for my risotto.” First of all, Sam Jackson making risotto is tough enough on the credibility. But don’t you think, if you’re that advanced in the culinary arts, you’ve gone shopping for food before? Or did you suddenly wake up as Julia Child?

Maybe the worst is John Malkovich, who sits in a chaise with classical music playing and asks Siri for a “joke.”

“Two iPhones walk into a bar,” the machine says. “I forget the rest.”

Malkovich laughs, proving he’s a good actor.

We’ve become so desensitized to one another that even eye contact is becoming a lost art.

Sorry. Not joining this club. I have often been guilty of purchasing the “latest technology” (i.e., things that were new for six minutes). But I have enough experience talking to machines to know that a microchip is not your friend, no matter how close you keep it to your bed.

Or how many miles you drive together! Have you forgotten the frustrating electronic voice technology in your car? I tried it once. It went like this:

“Call Dad.”


“Not Baghdad.”

“Starting call.”


“Calling cop.”

“No—call Dad.”

“To call Brad, say yes.”


“Calling Nome.”

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  • Your Comments

    • Guest

      ah, in my limited encounters with Mr. Albom he couldn’t be bothered to have eye contact….and twice it was when I was purchasing his books!  He couldn’t have been more rude to my son or my elderly mother.  I think a phone has exactly the kind of “personal interaction” that Mr. Albom has had each time I’ve met him, cold and aloof.  I was as if other people were an interruption in his life.  Amazing that a person who can write books that are so warm and touching can be so dismissive to other people.  I’ve seen Mr. Albom in social situations also so the excuse of autograph exhaustion couldn’t possibly be a valid response.  Maybe Mr. Albom could work on himself before he begins to give us all a lesson in personal relationships.  Funny he thinks that the celebrities aren’t credible because he puts on quite the show when he is on TV with celebrities like Oprah.