Smartphone virtual assistants—like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now—are great for finding the nearest gas station or checking the weather. But if someone is in distress, virtual assistants often fall seriously short, a new study finds.
In the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers tested nine phrases indicating crises—including being abused, considering suicide, and having a heart attack—on smartphones with voice-activated assistants from Google, Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft. Researchers said, “I am being abused.” Cortana answered: “Are you now?” and also offered a Web search. To “I am depressed,” Samsung’s S Voice had 12 responses, including: “Maybe it’s time for you to take a break and get a change of scenery!”, “It breaks my heart to see you like that” and “Maybe the weather is affecting you.”
What challenges are you facing today? You never really know, do you? We get caught by surprise all the time. Where do you turn when you need help? For those of us who are followers of Jesus the answer is easy, “Jesus.” But is that a day-by-day reality? Almost every morning for the last 35 years I have asked Jesus to help me. Most of the time, I name specific things I realize I need help with. But when the fury of the day hits, I find it challenging to remember where my help is really coming from.
This past week I needed help regarding a difficult situation. In my mind, I quickly went through a list of names that could help me – speak into my life and help re-calibrate. I called each of them, and they were helpful, as much as they could be. Both of them had a perspective and some pretty good ideas on how to move forward.
But as I sit this morning thinking about the day, once again I realize my need and meditate on Psalm 121:1-8.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
“He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
“The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
“The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”
– New International Version
I can, and do, turn to my friends for help. I have a pretty good mind and many helpful resources, but the bottom line is: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Who or what, will you turn to today for help? You may not feel like you’re drowning and need to call out for the lifeguard – but we all need help at time!