Apparently in direct response to the Spike Jonze film Her and satisfying Microsoft’s desperate wish for users to literally fall in love with its software, the Windows Phone 8.1 update will now include Cortana, a Siri-rivalling take on the personal digital assistant.
Siri seems popular enough with legions of Apple users who don’t mind being talked back to by a stupid machine, so Cortana is taking the concept a bit further by using a series of deeply personal questions to ‘get to know’ its users before launching into invading their private lives. In addition, it will track users’ search history and phone usage in order to formulate nagging questions to ‘improve’ their lives, just like a mother does. Windows Phone users can now look forward to being asked why they haven’t gone to medical school and when they’re going to settle down and get married and have some grandchildren to justify their mums’ years of personal sacrifices, for pity’s sake.
Microsoft hopes that this new voice-controlled digital assistant will encourage users to form unhealthy symbiotic relationships with their mobile devices, prompting them to think constantly about how to tell Cortana politely to butt out of their lives but ultimately say nothing for fear of tears and/or retaliation. This will undoubtedly result in users constructing a protective shield of lies and secrecy, keeping Cortana at arm’s length while she waits, expectant, right in their back pockets.
Those who have not yet succumbed to Cortana’s emotional manipulation will most likely take the position that Windows Phone users should just grow up and cut the cord already.
Image from The Verge