'A Duet With Siri': Musician Sings on YouTube With iPhone 4S

PHOTO: A still from a video posted to YouTube Oct. 17, 2011, in which musician Jonathan Mann sings to his iPhone 4S, and Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant, gives answers.
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"Hey, Siri...."

"What can I help you with?"

"Do you love me?"

"How can I tell?"

The song has gone viral -- musician Jonathan Mann on YouTube, singing a very tongue-in-cheek "Duet With Siri," the new voice-activated "virtual assistant" built into Apple's iPhone 4S with its iOS 5 operating system.

"Hey Siri, you're very beautiful."

"OK, can we get back to work now?"

Mann, who is 29 and lives in Berkeley, Calif., has drawn public attention before by composing a song a day -- on everything from last year's iPhone 4 to the economist Paul Krugman. He said when he first saw Siri demonstrated, the idea for a duet immediately came to him.

"I'm always on the lookout for topics and ideas for songs and this, for me, was just a really obvious idea," he said in an email.

"Will you marry me?"

"We hardly know one another."

"Will you please marry me?"

"I'm not capable of love, JONATHAN."

"I love you."

"My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies."

"I love you."

"You say that to all the virtual assistants."

Mann says he knew he was pushing the limits of Siri's ability to understand spoken (or sung) commands, and perhaps the humor of her programmers. In the video (listen to the song and laugh if you haven't already), Mann sings expressively, and Siri answers in a female monotone.

"Siri is really good. I have a friend named Aivi (pronounced Ivy) and I asked it to send her a text message and it had no trouble recognizing her name. I was stunned," he said.

"But Siri is unpredictable in her responses, so it became necessary to pre-record ALL of her various responses to each input, then put them together with my parts," he said in his email. "Many sections are her actual responses to the given input, but in some cases, I took creative liberty."

The Internet appreciates it. In two days, Mann's duet had more than 150,000 hits and counting.

"The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Nothing from Apple yet, they've been their normal, silent selves. I hope it made them laugh, though," said Mann.

"Hey Siri."

"What can I help you with?"

"Who's your daddy?"

"You are. Can we get back to work now?"

(Lyrics to "A Duet With Siri" by Jonathan Mann, used with his permission.)

 
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