Friday, March 30, 2012

What's in a name - #Apple's #Siri

Siri on an iPhone 4S
I saw several articles yesterday, like this one, claiming that Apple's intelligent agent Siri is named after a Norwegian goddess and that Steve Jobs didn't like the name. Frankly I don't believe Siri is named after a Norwegian goddess. This seems like post-justification. Siri was a company, which Apple purchased, that was spun out of Stanford Research International, commonly known as SRI, which sounds a lot like "Siri" to me. The new company Siri Inc. called its product "Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface" or Siri. The history is all explained here in an earlier post on this blog. Wikipedia makes no mention of Siri being named after a Norwegian goddess and there doesn't even seem to be a Norwegian goddess called Siri. Sigrid is a Scandinavian female name, for which Siri is a diminutive, and it does mean victory, wisdom and beautiful according to Wikipedia, but there's no mention of a goddess.
    Personally, I'll continue to believe that Siri derives from SRI, which at least is supported by historical fact. I have no opinion on whether or not Steve Jobs liked the name. Incidentally I asked Siri the origin of its name and it was evasive and refused to answer.

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