My Love/Hate Relationship with Cortana

I have finally managed to upgrade to Windows 10. The year-long delay was not for lack of trying. I’d upload it for about 5 hours, then try to install it for another 5, only to be told there was some sort of error, which, when researched on-line, seemed to be some catch-all code with no solution.

I must have heeded their nags and tried to upgrade about a dozen times, because I hated Windows 8. (And what happened to Windows 9?) It reached the point where I was sorely tempted to drive up to the nearby Microsoft compound and throw my laptop at the security guard. “Here. You figure it out.”

But then about two weeks ago, after I’d long since given up all hope, I apparently clicked on something without even realizing it, and the next thing I knew, I had Windows 10! Oh, happy day! More or less.

Yes, there’s a learning curve. And I had to iron out quite a few glitches. And I STILL can’t get Google Chrome to work properly, but over all, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

The feature I am having the hardest time getting used to is Cortana. You’ve got to understand. I’ve got very humble electronics. No smart phone. No Siri. Nothing that responds to my voice. The GPS in my car often exasperates me. So this trend toward anthropomorphizing our gadgets is relatively new to me.

But Cortana is trying really hard. She talks like the perfect friend. “Ask me anything,” she says. “Hi! How can I help?” “Anything I can do for you?” “What’s on your mind?”

So just out of curiosity I asked her, “What is the meaning of life?”

She sent me to Wikipedia. Sigh. I have to say that this was one time when Wikipedia didn’t give me a satisfying answer.

Don’t get me wrong. I doubt any of my other friends would have been much help, either, but at least we’d have had an interesting conversation about it. It would have given us more opportunity to bond.

So, Cortana, don’t get too comfortable. I still don’t consider you my bestie, even if you act like you care, and you’re always willing to be there for me. Keep trying, though. You never know. You might grow on me.



Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

17 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with Cortana”

  1. The thing that bugs me is how it seems they always slap a human-type gender on these creations. In fiction too. Here we have a chance to come up with something new, and we blew it.
    It’s not just because I myself am an agender/metagender. It’s that these…entities are not human, in both the positive and negative senses of the concept, and we should be able to think more clearly about them without smokescreens like gender and all its stupid baggage. I can feel perfectly at home with an “it”, even a smart one–I’ve been doing so for eons, with nonintelligent (or non-pretending-to-be-intelligent) machines and so on. I don’t find it degrading to refer to a genuine AI, if one ever appears [and don’t get me started on that] as “it”.
    I was fortunate that my Windows 10 installation went well, but I haven’t tried Cortana, if only because I am used to Googling stuff.

    1. Yeah, I’m a Googler myself.
      I see where you’re coming from about the gender thing. Of COURSE it had to be a female. We are the servants of the world. Grrrrrr…
      I would have liked a nice miniature dragon or something. But I read a lot of Anne McCaffrey in my childhood.

      1. Recently reread McCaffreys Pern series as an adult…it’s still a fun read and found new insights I missed when I was younger.

  2. It’s specifically because of the nagging that I refused to upgrade. I don’t quite trust free tech that is forced upon me and don’t think the benefits outweigh the loss of time I could be spending on things I actually want to spend time on. I mean… my clock is ticking… 🙂

      1. But now the alarm is sounding and I can’t turn it off.

        How supportive was that tech support as you tried to upgrade about a dozen times? 🙂
        When I call my cable company for tech support they have me try multiple useless fixes and end the call trying to sell me more services and offer to send a tech out at my expense. Eventually (many months, techs and phone calls later) I discover the issue is a flaw on their end. Same sort of thing happened with windows 7. I now research the problems myself online to see how others solved them and then fix it like you did…accidentally.

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