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Lawsuit filed against Apple's Siri technology

11:10 AM, Jun 13, 2012   |    comments
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DALLAS, TX (CBSDFW.COM) - Built into the iPhone 4S, the digital assistant known as Siri has plenty of celebrity friends showing her off. But not everyone likes Siri. In fact, some have accused Siri as being "not as advertised" and filed a lawsuit against her creator, Apple.

Judging by the commercials, Apple's iPhone Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface (Siri) is meant to be taken seriously. Oscar-nominated actor John Malkovich is in one commercial, lounging in a living room asking Siri for Linguica. Siri tells him there are five restaurants close to him that serve it.

In another commercial, Samuel L. Jackson appears to be cooking in a kitchen. "How many ounces in a cup?" he asks Siri. She tells him eight.

But should Siri really be taken seriously? She does have a sense of humor. When Malkovich asks Siri for a joke, she responds, "Two iPhones walk into a bar. I forget the rest."

Frank Fazio didn't find Siri funny or helpful. He filed a federal class action lawsuit against Apple saying Siri commercials are "fundamentally and designedly false and misleading." Apple has filed a motion to dismiss. But does the lawsuit against the voice activated software have legs?

Looking over the lawsuit, Meghan Ryan, a law professor at Southern Methodist University said, "One of the major problems is that there isn't a whole lot of detail."

The lawsuit claims Fazio "asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store. Siri either did not understand what he was asking or after a very long wait time responded with the wrong answer."

Ryan said, "It's hard to tell, based on the complaint, what Siri actually said. Was she close? Did she understand his speech? What was really the problem?" Ryan doesn't have an iPhone. So, CBS 11 News introduced her to the iPhone's digital assistant.

Ryan asked Siri, "What is a class action?"

Siri told her, "I found this meeting."

At first, Ryan looked startled. Then, she laughed. "It found a meeting," Ryan said.

Maybe someone more familiar with Siri would do better. Kayla Sinkule, jogging in downtown Dallas, said that she had an iPhone 4S, and that she has known Siri for quite some time. But do they understand each other? "To some extent. I like to say we're friends," Sinkule responded. She likes Siri. "Anytime you need a hands free device, Siri's kind of there for you."

Kyle Segarra isn't as fond of Siri. "It's not like it's advertised to be," he said. Segarra parted ways with Siri after just one week. "Zero personal connection there."

Maybe she's better at locations. Segarra, standing in front of the Revenna Italian Restaurant, asked Siri, "Siri, am I close to a restaurant called Revenna?"

Siri responded, "I'm checking your current location. I found a restaurant matching Red."

Segarra shook his head. "Red, Hot and Blue? Anybody want to go to Red, Hot and Blue? It's only seven miles away."

CBS 11 News reporter Carol Cavazos sat down with Siri for a serious talk.

Cavazos: "Hello, Siri."

Siri: "Hello."

Cavazos: "So, who are you?"

Siri: "I'm Siri."

Cavazos: "Who's your daddy?"

Siri: "You are. Now can we get back to work?"

Cavazos: "Tell me about the Siri lawsuit."

She promptly pulled up a Google page with links to various stories on the lawsuit.

Cavazos: "Are you being sued?"

Siri: "I'm sorry. I'm afraid I can't answer that."

When it comes to Siri, maybe you just never know what you're going to get.

Cavazos: "I love you, Siri."

Siri: "You are the wind beneath my wings."

In its motion to dismiss, Apple said that its website identifies Siri as beta technology, a work in progress. The company also questioned why those who complained about Siri failed to take advantage of the company's 30-day return policy.

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