There’s a New Batch of Teachers and their Names are Siri, Alexa, and Cortana

It’s 1986. Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, of the Starship Enterprise, accompanied by the ship’s doctor, Bones, enters the office of Plexicorp’s Dr. Nichols.

After teasing Nichols with an innovation brought back from the 23rd Century, Scotty asks to use the doctor’s computer, a nice shiny Macintosh Plus. Scotty sits down, situates himself, and then politely addresses the computer, “Computer.”

Nothing happens. After another failed attempt, Bones hands Scotty the mouse. Then, to great comedic effect, Scotty holds the mouse to his mouth, presses the button, and says, “Computer.”

This scene from 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a hit with audiences, because most people found it absurd to try to interact with a computer using only your voice. Fast forward 30 years, and this is a prime example of science fiction that has become reality. We now have many realized versions of this concept: Google Assistant, Alexa from Amazon, Microsoft’s Cortana, and, of course, Apple’s Siri.

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