Dear Apple,

Siri in action Siri in action (Getty Images)

I noticed your job posting for a writer for Siri.

You wrote: “We’re looking for a uniquely creative individual to help us evolve and enrich Siri, our virtual personal assistant. Siri’s known for ‘her’ wit, cultural knowledge, and zeal to explain things in engaging, funny, and practical ways. The ideal candidate is someone who combines a love for language, wordplay, and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative content to life within an intense technical environment.”

I hope the competition for this position is fierce. You need someone with style. Get a Hemingway or a Faulkner or a Fitzgerald. Or a David Foster Wallace. You ask Siri a question about where best to go on a tropical cruise and you get back several densely allusive paragraphs, heavily footnoted.

You could go the Wilde route:

“Siri, is it raining?”

“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”

Or the Mamet direction:

“Siri, should I rob this bank?”

“Are you actually talking about this, or are we just … what?”

“We’re just ‘talking’ about it.”


“We’re just speaking about it. As an idea.”

“As an idea. Yes.”


Or Hunter S. Thompson:

“Siri, direct me to Las Vegas.”

“First, obtain two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers … and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.”

You could try Sorkinese, where Siri would refuse to have a conversation about anything unless you agreed to “walk with me” while you did it.

You could even go for more of a Joycean vibe.

“Siri, is it raining?”

“a way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun yes yes i will yes.”

You could actually save a lot of money that way, because no actual information would have to be conveyed whatsoever. However on the downside you would lose every subscriber, except for maybe one or two English graduate students.

Right now, Siri is an enigma, a themeless pudding of cyborg jokes and oddly specific opinions, and there was that awkward phase when she tried to force a pro-life stance on you. She needs a unifying voice to give her purpose.

And this is a job for a writer. It used to be that we waited for novels to hear the distinctive voices of nonexistent characters. Now we get that from Manti Te’o’s dating life — or yelling at our phones.

And if none of them are available, I volunteer my services. I think I’m qualified. You note in your listing that the ideal candidate will work on “formulating utterances” and will “Help the Siri team evolve Siri as a distinct, recognizable character.”

If I had one hobby, that hobby is “formulating utterances.” Sometimes I formulate utterances all day long for no money at all!

Also, I have a deep affinity for robots. I very nearly got a Roomba for the companionship. It offered all the benefits of a roommate but would make fewer passive-aggressive remarks under its breath as it picked up after me. Besides, short of getting membership in the 1950s, your options are limited if you want to come home to someone vacuuming. But I think Siri needs to break the robot mold.

I have lots of experience writing dialogue from the perspective of characters! Among the characters whose perspectives I have written from: God. Rick Santorum. Reproductively challenged pandas. Hades Pantsaretight, a character whose entire life was defined by the fact that he was wearing tight pants. Once I wrote a children’s musical about forest creatures. If this doesn’t scream “qualified for Siri” — well, I don’t know what does.

I have one confession, which is that I don’t have Siri, but from the amount of time I spend alone yelling at my phone, you would never know.