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Watch: What would Siri have been like in the 1980s? This retro video will give you an idea

‘We all talk to our computer, especially when things go wrong. But with Siri, your computer talks back!’


Home assistants like Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri and Google Assist have become so commonplace now, it may soon be hard to imagine life without them. In the 1980s, though, nobody had even heard of such a thing.

Back then, we were using MS DOS on our personal computers and floppy disks. So what would have happened if Siri, Apple’s Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface, had been created then, just about the time its first line of Macs was rolling out?

A hilarious parody on the YouTube channel Squirrel Monkey tries to imagine just that, with a retro mock instructional video (above). “We all talk to our computer, especially when things go wrong. But with Siri, your computer talks back,” says the narrator, before divulging more information.

Siri in the 1980s would have been a floppy disk-loaded programme that would have to be run on MS DOS – and only if your hardware met the requirement of a whopping 512-kilobytes of RAM.

This video is part of Squirrel Monkey’s Wonders of the World Wide Web in which the YouTuber imagines other modern software like Snapchat, Twitter and Angry Birds being run on 1980s technology.

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When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.


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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.