Despite Claims to the Contrary, Siri Is Not Actually Good at Sports

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

The latest matchup in the storied college football rivalry between the Wolverines of Michigan and the Michigan State Spartans took place last Saturday. A bad time was had by all who were rooting for the maize and blue, as Michigan choked away a 16-point second half lead, all while Jim Harbaugh looked consistently bumfuzzled.

More relevant to this site, asking Siri about the game produced some spectacularly awful results. I invite someone, anyone, to explain this collection of nonsense.

First, I asked Siri for the Michigan score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan score?

Siri: Michigan lost a close one to Michigan Street today. The final score was 37-33.

[Audio recording]

Agog, I then asked it for the Michigan State score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan State score?

Siri: Michigan Street barely prevailed over Michigan by a score of 37-33 today.

[Audio recording]

I was now stifling laughter, but I managed to ask Siri to give me the “Michigan Street” score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan Street score?

Siri: Michigan just barely lost to to Michigan State today. The final score was 37-33.

[Audio recording]

That almost seems like the right answer, but given the phrasing, I suspect it’s actually giving me the Michigan score. That’s subtly different, and not quite right.

Of course, the larger issue is the repeated referencing of “Michigan Street”. Those with even modicum of familiarity with college sports know that when a school has “State” in its name, it’s often shortened to “St.”. Siri is obviously misinterpreting that “St.” as “Street”. That’s just flat out wrong. Apparently, it’s also been happening for years:

Tweet reading LMFAO SIRI CALLS PENN STATE PENN STREET IM CRYING 😂😂😂
This tweet is nearly five years old.

This mistake is hilarious, but at least it makes a stupid kind of sense. The part I find really inexplicable is the utter lack of consistency. Asking Siri about “Michigan State” gave results for “Michigan Street”, while asking it about “Michigan Street” returned a correct-ish response about “Michigan State”. Even allowing for the misinterpretation of “St.” as “Street”, how on earth does that happen?


If you enjoyed this post, get updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.