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Serious Problems with Siri

December 2, 2011

I’ll admit it. I’m an iPhone 4 user not an iPhone 4S user so I don’t use Siri; I can’t actually, it isn’t compatible with my phone. For a while I was moderately upset about this. With all the cool updates that users get to experience regardless of which phone they have Siri seemed to be the most innovative an non universally available product Apple has created in some time.

The sting wore off though, especially after reports of the kind of information Siri is programmed to know (and not to know) started to show up in my Google news feed. And on Twitter. And Facebook. And Tumblr and every other cavern of the Internet I regularly track. The story was everywhere.

Siri doesn’t know much about women, or at least not information hat appears to be provided from the perspective of women. Siri may be able to tell you where the nearest locksmith is located or how to find an escort it can’t tell you anything about women’s health care. Note I said women’s health care not men’s. Siri’s voice activation also knows that drugstores sell Viagra, but ask about birth control and it comes up empty. Same goes for abortion clinics.

Regardless of whether the oversight is just that an oversight made out of neglect and not malice it’s still unacceptable and speaks to a broader issue. It means that programmers spent more time teaching Siri lame jokes than incorporating information about and for half the population.

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