Apple’s Siri Stumbles Over an Abortion Question

NY Times:

Apple’s Siri Stumbles Over an Abortion Question

Ask Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant for the iPhone, for ideas on where to eat dinner or whether you need an umbrella, and it will deliver helpful localized suggestions.
But try asking it to find a local abortion clinic, and the software turns up a puzzling blank — even in areas that clearly have such clinics. The response in Manhattan is: “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.”

This is, of course, not a question that most people are likely to be asking their phones. But the odd results began to attract attention around the Web on Tuesday, with some suspecting a conspiracy.
“I can’t help but feel that something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” said one blogger at a site called The Abortioneers.

Megan Carpentier, the executive editor at a blog called The Raw Story, noted that Siri users in the Washington area are directed toward antiabortion pregnancy centers in Virginia and Pennsylvania — not the nearby Planned Parenthood. Asking Google the same question turned up ads for seven abortion clinics, two pregnancy centers and an abortion referral service.

I wonder if this is an Easter egg planted by Steve Jobs?

It’s probably not…has it been widley tested? It might be a fluke, or it might be that the pregnancy centers have better tags and cyber “likes” than the abortion centers themselves.

It shouldn’t stumble. It should answer directly: “I hope you are going there to pray outside the clinic. No one should kill their own child.”

Siri works off of data collection and algorithms to determine the most likely response. In other words, this response just means that pregnancy centers are more often looked up, promoted, liked, etc., in regards to abortion than planned parenthood facilities are.

. The reason it won’t find any abortion clinics is nobody calls themselves an abortion clinic. They always hide behind euphemisms. I suspect if you typed in" reproductive health clinic" or “women’s health clinic” you would quickly be directed to your local abortuary.

I’m sure you’re right, it just didn’t occur to me until after I posted.

So no one taught a machine how to deceive? Does that make a computer program morally superior to Planned Parenthood?

No, it has to do with tags.

The computer goes through and reads the tags of a business.

For instance if you type in, “hot dog”

you would get,
-Friendly’s
-Pete’s Hot dogs
-Scoop and Hoop
-Appleby’s
etc

but
The Glam Hotel
wouldn’t come up, beucase even though they serve hot dogs on their kid’s menu it’s not how they want to market themselves.

according to the Curt Jester, it’'s not a bug, it’s a feature:

Considering the recent Steve Jobs biography “I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,…” maybe this is more than a bug.
Though after some investigation myself I have determined it is the semantic problem with the virtual assistant’s speech recognition algorithm.
Here is my test script and the result.

Test: “I want to murder the unborn child in my womb”
Siri: “Oh you want Planned Parenthood they murder more children than anybody else.”

Test: “Where can I have an innocent unborn child sliced up and disposed of.”
Siri: “You want the abortuary at 4131 University Blvd S # 2, Jacksonville, Fl.”

Yes.
My cat is morally superior to Planned Parenthood.
PP is negative when it comes to morality.

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