News broke today on the MacRumors website that Siri would get your age wrong when you ask it how old you are. But, after doing a little digging, my hot take is that it isn’t actually getting your age wrong. You’re just too afraid of growing old.
OK before we get into the whole situation of who said what and start pointing fingers or calling for my head in the comments section below, let me just lay out some of the facts we already know. For starters, when you ask Siri how old you are, it will tell your correct age…to the year. It appears that Apple’s highly intelligent virtual assistant does not take months into consideration, which means if you were born in the year 1993, you’d be 29 years old regardless of whether you were born in the month of January or December.
That means technically, it is indeed getting your age wrong depending on when in a given year you ask it. I also say technically because I believe when it comes to legal documents, you’re also not of age until your birthday passes. So, for all legal requirements, yes Siri can get your age wrong if you’re asking it before your birthday is up.
But, and hear me out, if we’re to dive into the more personal or philosophical discussion of how old you are, I’ve always believed that you turn whatever age you turn based on the year. It keeps things simple when referring to ages in casual conversation, and it takes the whole “wait a minute are you XX age this year or has your birthday not passed?”. And this isn’t even the most out-there take on age. In traditional Chinese culture, the age of a person at birth is considered one year old, and that’s normal because they use different words for age (岁) and year (年).
That being said, in the process of writing this article, we found out that things get even more complicated when you ask Siri how old you’ll be in a certain year in the future. For example, I’m 29 this year, but my birthday isn’t up yet which means I’m still legally 28. However, when I asked Siri how old I’d be, it responded with 29. Then, when I asked it how old I’d be next year, it said that I would be still be 29 years old.
After this mind-boggling revelation, we tried asking a proper virtual assistant, the Google Assistant the same question (how old will I be next year). And perplexingly, it added two years to the age pre-birthday—which would make it correct if it counted my age post-birthday. This goes against the logic applied to the Google Assistant’s original answer to the question “how old am I” because it calculates my age before my birthday.
So, I guess the moral of the story here is, virtual assistants aren’t super reliable when it comes to knowing your age. Just remember it yourself. Or, keep it simple and join me in the revolution of calculating age by year instead.