Apple's Siri instrumental in rescue of sick teen following Hurricane Harvey devastation

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2017
A pair of calls to the U.S. Coast Guard through Apple's Siri ultimately resulted in the rescue of a critically ill teenager in Texas, after the flooding encroached upon her home and forced the family to the roof.




The 14 year-old Tyler Frank suffers from sickle cell anemia. A crisis was induced from exposure to the flood water, and the shock of the event as a whole. After failed calls to 911 and pleas for help on Facebook, the teen turned to Siri to get help.

The family of five, including Frank's mother and three brothers fled to the roof in the early morning of August 27. Frank used Siri asking that the digital assistant "call the Coast Guard."

The first rescue helicopter arrived on August 28. Coast Guard service members assessed the situation, and informed the family that only the elderly were being taken at that time.

"Coast Guard first responders were faced with an overwhelming request for assistance due to Hurricane Harvey," the Coast Guard told CNN in a statement about the first encounter. "On-scene rescue crews made determinations based upon emergent factors (i.e. immediate, life-threatening situations) and the conditions faced on the scene."

Frank used Siri again to call the Coast Guard, which led to a rescue on the early morning of August 29.



Tyler was released from Texas Children's Hospital on Sept. 1. The family is now staying in a Super 8 hotel near Houston.

"Our car is gone; our house is gone; everything's gone," mother Tameko Frank said. "We have to start over."

Siri debuted in 2011 on the iPhone 4s with iOS 5. Siri's abilities have escalated with time, adding sport scores, restaurant reservations and movie showtimes in iOS 6. Wikipedia and Twitter searches were added with iOS 7. Apple added integrations with Apple Music and the Apple Watch when both products launched.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    These feel good stories are great PR for apple and all for that... 

    but it when is he going to work in my car, or at my desk...

    That's the the real story. Why is she/he still garbage 5 gen. In? I don't need cute snarky responses - quicker, smarter, more reliable or I'll super glue a Echo Dot to my handset because it's just faster
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 10
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,181member
    These feel good stories are great PR for apple and all for that... 

    but it when is he going to work in my car, or at my desk...

    That's the the real story. Why is she/he still garbage 5 gen. In? I don't need cute snarky responses - quicker, smarter, more reliable or I'll super glue a Echo Dot to my handset because it's just faster
    Siri is known more for being a she...not a he. 

    Honestly, I don't think it matters what Apple does to Siri...people will always think it sucks because it didn't do something right for them. Faster isn't always reliable either...so go ahead and stick the Echo to your dash or whatever. 
    edited September 2017 bb-15dementuschikancoolfactorwatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    The US Coastguard isn't 911?
  • Reply 4 of 10
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,031member
    I just tried to call the Coast Guard using Siri. Since I don't have CG saved as a contact it couldn't call it, although it was oddly smart enough to tell me that it doesn't have the number to the very specific Coast Guard name and location nearest to my city. My best guess is that the Yelp page for that Coast Guard branch doesn't list a phone number.

    PS: For those that want to try out Siri for dialing 9-1-1 there is a 5 second countdown—at least on watchOS 4.0b8—before it actually calls the number.

    Rayz2016 said:
    The US Coastguard isn't 911?
    No. 9-1-1 is just a national N11 code that is used to contact a locally or regional serviced call center that will then dispatch to other services. You can use 9-1-1 to get help from the Coast Guard, if that's the best option, but 9-1-1 is not the Coast Guard, is not the police, is not the fire department, is not a hospital, is not child protective services, is not the FBI, etc.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,270administrator
    Rayz2016 said:
    The US Coastguard isn't 911?
    "After failed calls to 911"

    Probably an overwhelmed system.
    bb-15watto_cobraRacerhomieX
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Rayz2016 said:
    The US Coastguard isn't 911?
    "After failed calls to 911"

    Probably an overwhelmed system.
    Ah, missed that. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    Just an AI assistant that works.
    bb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    anomeanome Posts: 1,462member
    macxpress said:
    These feel good stories are great PR for apple and all for that... 

    but it when is he going to work in my car, or at my desk...

    That's the the real story. Why is she/he still garbage 5 gen. In? I don't need cute snarky responses - quicker, smarter, more reliable or I'll super glue a Echo Dot to my handset because it's just faster
    Siri is known more for being a she...not a he. 

    Honestly, I don't think it matters what Apple does to Siri...people will always think it sucks because it didn't do something right for them. Faster isn't always reliable either...so go ahead and stick the Echo to your dash or whatever. 
    More to the point, the narrative that Siri doesn't work is already out there, and there is very little that Apple can do to change that. They could release a version that works perfectly, never misinterprets a command, always does exactly what you want, but the jokes about it failing will still be around. People just won't accept that it's improved. It happens all the time with this kind of technology. It doesn't matter who makes it, although I feel it does happen to Apple more than most (Handwriting recognition on the Newton, anyone?)
    lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 10
    anome said:
    macxpress said:
    These feel good stories are great PR for apple and all for that... 

    but it when is he going to work in my car, or at my desk...

    That's the the real story. Why is she/he still garbage 5 gen. In? I don't need cute snarky responses - quicker, smarter, more reliable or I'll super glue a Echo Dot to my handset because it's just faster
    Siri is known more for being a she...not a he. 

    Honestly, I don't think it matters what Apple does to Siri...people will always think it sucks because it didn't do something right for them. Faster isn't always reliable either...so go ahead and stick the Echo to your dash or whatever. 
    More to the point, the narrative that Siri doesn't work is already out there, and there is very little that Apple can do to change that. They could release a version that works perfectly, never misinterprets a command, always does exactly what you want, but the jokes about it failing will still be around. People just won't accept that it's improved. It happens all the time with this kind of technology. It doesn't matter who makes it, although I feel it does happen to Apple more than most (Handwriting recognition on the Newton, anyone?)
    Whether it's "narrative online" or "jokes" doesn't matter one bit to those of us that actively TRY IT and have it fail repeatedly. I used to put it down to lack of mobile data but Vodafone in my area have really upped their game giving me 4G almost everywhere I go so I can rule that out now. I can rule out my strong Scottish accent as I now use the voice search on my Sky Q (TV) daily and it never fails to understand me. I want Siri to succeed and work but so far *in my experience*, it doesn't.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    These feel good stories are great PR for apple and all for that... 

    but it when is he going to work in my car, or at my desk...

    That's the the real story. Why is she/he still garbage 5 gen. In? I don't need cute snarky responses - quicker, smarter, more reliable or I'll super glue a Echo Dot to my handset because it's just faster
    I think it's an accent thing. If I use Siri with a fake American accent (which I won't do in public, because it's terrible) it works almost perfectly, but if I revert to my normal voice (city Australian) it screws up all the time. I've never used an Echo Dot (ugh!) but perhaps its dev. team have prioritized your accent higher than the Siri team have. Give it a few more generations and we'll all be covered. BTW "s/he" (pron. shuh-hee) is an easier way to write a non-gender-specific third-person personal pronoun to a singular antecedent, and it's legal too :-). I also use "his/er" (pron. his-er) and "his/erself" (pron. his-erself). Much nicer than using "it" when the subject is not inanimate (OK Siri is inanimate, but we anthropomorphise Siri - and other robots), or "they", "themselves" for a singular antecedent, or even worse convoluting the sentence to use a forced "person" or "people" (ugh!) or similar.
Sign In or Register to comment.