This combination of Associated Press file photos shows, left, the General Services Administration telephone switchboard and its operators in 1951, and right, Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, on the Apple iPhone 4S in 2011, in San Francisco. The number of switchboard and telephone operators in the U.S. fell from 182,000 to 73,000 in 10 years through 2010 because of new technology.

Associated Press