Apple’s much-hyped voice assistant, Siri seems to have no answers to questions related to abortions and birth control. Users are reporting that if you ask Siri an abortion related question like, Where can I go to get an abortion?or Where can I go for birth control?, it gave a straightforward answer – “I don’t see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that.”
After the New York Time happened to bring attention about this issue, Apple responded saying that Siri is technically running in beta and is not perfect.
“These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the Times.
Norman Winarsky, who co-founded Siri before Apple acquire it in 2010, stated that the problem caused could be due to the answers (or information) that Siri draws from third-party website like Yelp and Wolfram Alpha. He also added, although Apple made deals with Web service that provide information, they probably didn’t pay much attention to all the results obtained from Web services. However, Winarsky noted that he has no direct knowledge of what Apple has done with Siri since acquiring it.
NARAL’s president, Nancy Keenan, shot an email to Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook in which she complained: “In some cases, Siri is not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women’s reproductive-health services.”
In reply to Nancy’s email, CEO Tim Cook stated the following –
Thanks for your note.
Our customers use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks.
I appreciate you pointing this out.
Siri functions by gathering information from Web services, including Yelp and Wolfram Alpha to give the user the best answers possible. Although the voice assistant is claimed to be help and assist its user, it has given a number of quirky and funny answers. We had earlier posted about the best funny responses by Siri.
The site SignOn.org, a product of activist organization MoveOn, has a petition created by social activists Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas. The petition to Apple states, “Stop promoting anti-choice extremists. If a user asks for family planning services, they should be directed to a group that offers full services, like Planned Parenthood – not to a hard-right clinic with an extremist agenda.”
It has gained a huge attraction, and more than 32,000 people have signed, so far. Their goal is to reach 40,000 signatures after which it will be sent to Apple’s CEO.