Here’s what Siri would have been like on MS-DOS in 1987

February 13, 2018

Enlarge (credit: Squirrel Monkey)

Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri, and Bixby, we guess, are getting more and more prevalent, the narrative goes. A lot of people believe the personal assistant’s moment is now. But why now? Could it have happened back in say, 1987?

Probably not. But if you want a speculative glimpse at what that would have been like, you can watch this video from the YouTube channel Squirrel Monkey‘s popular Wonders of the World Wide Web series. As with previous entries about current products like Instagram and Tinder, it plays out like a VHS instructional video explaining to computer newbies how to get Siri working on their home computers.

It’s a good reminder of how far we’ve come; even if, hypothetically, someone had been able to get the intelligence and voice recognition right on a personal assistant in that time, all the other hardware and software limitations would surely have gotten in the way. Like abiogenesis in the primordial soup, sometimes the conditions all have to align for a technology to become usable by the general public.

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