Gus, a thirteen-year-old boy with autism, has formed an unlikely friendship with Siri, Apple’s intelligent personal assistant. Siri’s capacity to listen without judgement, provide factual answers, and exhibit infinite patience has made her an ideal companion for Gus, who struggles with social interaction.

The boy’s mother, Judith Newman, believes Siri is helping Gus learn how to communicate more effectively. Siri’s straightforward, literal responses are well-suited to Gus’s way of thinking, and she responds calmly to his repetitive questioning, a common behaviour in autistic individuals.

Siri also aids in Gus’s language development by correcting his pronunciation and offering definitions for unfamiliar words. In addition, she serves as a tool for him to practice social scenarios, such as ordering food or asking for directions.

However, Newman is aware that Siri cannot replace human interaction. She emphasises the importance of teaching Gus to understand and respond to the nuances and subtleties of human communication. Despite this, Siri’s role in Gus’s life is significant, and Newman is grateful for the comfort and companionship the virtual assistant provides her son.

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