Siri is raw and in beta. Could be in perpetual beta because it’ll be constantly learning new things. Google’ rumored Siri-killer will likewise be in the same state of learning new tricks. But there is one thing that I like any voice-enabled service like Siri to be able to do right away – contact emergency services and it should so easy that a toddler can do it.
I know that many toddlers know how to make calls these days. It’s amazing how brilliant some children are. But an one-click emergency service that even a three-year old can activate would be pretty useful. In the example above, a fictional three-year old saves his mother. It could be a grandparent, another relative, or a sibling who needs emergency medical services.
Imagine the following scenario:
Toddler finds a parent or grandparent unconscious. He/she shook the adult but got no response. So the toddler goes to the smartphone and presses the home button.
Intel Assistant: How can I help you?Toddler: My daddy won’t wake up. IA: Okay, do you want me to call for help?T: Yes, he’s sick or something.IA: I’ll connect you to emergency services. (at this point, the IA tries to establish a connection to the 911 services).911: Hello, who am I speaking with?T (gives 911 his/her name): My daddy won’t wake up. He’s on the floor.911: Okay, I know where you are, an ambulance and an engine is being sent to your location. Is this your home? (The smartphone has already transmitted the GPS location to 911. T: Yes. 911: You’re doing great. We’ll have someone there shortly. I’ll stay on the line with you. How old are you?T: Three (or “I don’t know”.)911: Can you hold the phone up. Good. (Images are transmitted to 911 and first responders so they have a better handle of the situation before they arrive – if possible, the 911 operator can establish a two-way video chat with the toddler.)Through the whole episode, the IA, whether it’s Siri or something that Google comes up with, is listening. Upon knowing that the user of the emergency protocol is a minor and not the owner of the smartphone, a text is immediately sent to other family members on the contact list that the owner of the smartphone.
I’m sure other protocols could be written in for the IA to follow as well.
I hope the purveyors of mobile platforms will build something into this that will make it easy to contact and enable 911 services to quickly respond – a few seconds or minutes could make the diff between life and death.
And this doesn’t have to take years of development for this to work. I think this can be done relatively quickly if all the innovators put their heads together with authorities to make this happen. So yeah, the technology is within our grasp. All it does is to take the might and political will to make this happen. It’ll take the involvements of the FCC, emergency responders, device makers like Apple and Google, and the carriers.
The government already has an emergency alert system in place. I reckon it would take another upgrade to the system and to 911 to make this work.