Thursday, December 01, 2011

Siri's good for finding escorts, not so much for abortion clinics: ACLU

Escorts yes, but birth control or abortion clinics, no. Apple has been asked to fix a "glitch" in its iPhone 4S Siri voice assistant feature that results in no answers being given when an end user attempts to find an abortion clinic or birth control, Siri always responds with "no answer."

The ACLU wrote the following in a blog post:

"According to numerous sources, when asked to find an abortion clinic, even in areas where such clinics are nearby, Siri either draws a blank, or worse, refers women to pregnancy crisis centers. As we've blogged about in the past, pregnancy crisis centers, which often bill themselves as resources for abortion care, do not provide or refer for abortion and are notorious for providing false and misleading information about abortion."

A few tests ourselves and we discovered we could, if we want, find nearby escorts just fine, as well as "how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, etc. etc." but not either abortion clinics or birth control, despite the proximity of such.

As noted at the blog that first discovered the issue, Siri can even direct users to the best places to find some drugs ... and we don't mean a pharmacy.

Apple considers it a glitch, and not some right-wing conspiracy. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said:

"Our customers want to 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."



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