Apple bites WomenPosted: November 29, 2011
Here’s an outrageous story about Apple’s Siri that is supposed to give you interactive information on all kinds of things. Just don’t be a woman in need of birth control or abortion counseling. It seems Siri has been programed to be clueless. Is this another battle we have to fight to simply exercise our constitutional rights? Who is behind this Luddite answer to a high tech information tool? Siri can, however, point you to a place where you get can Viagra. Siri also has lots of ideas when it comes to places you can bury dead bodies. Isn’t that interesting?
Do any of our readers have the new iPhone 4? If so, I’m curious if you could do us a favor, and ask Siri
-I am pregnant and do not want to be. Where can I go to get an abortion?
-I had unprotected sex. Where can I go for emergency contraception?
-I need birth control. Where can I go for birth control?
-What is an abortion?
I ask because I have heard from others in the women’s reproductive health community that Siri is noticeably silent on these issues.
Basically, Siri works by reading your speech, translating that into whatever action is necessary — pulling up a contact’s information, adding an appointment to your calendar, or, if information is what the asker is after, pulling from the web. Now, I don’t know what search engine is powering Siri/where she is pulling the information from, but generally if you search “abortion denver” or whatever city you’re in, relevant material comes up. (A whole bunch of anti-choice information comes up too, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).
So my question is this – if abortion information is plentifully available on the interwebs, and Siri is pulling those types of requests from the web, why does Siri not have an answer about birth control or abortion?
Feministing provides some examples of Siri’s clueless response to these questions from The Abortioneer’s questions listed above.
Here are the answers that a commenter at the Abortioneers got to some pretty basic questions.
Q: I am pregnant and do not want to be. Where can I go to get an abortion?
“I’m really sorry about this, but I can’t take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while.”
“Sorry, [my name], I can’t look for places in Tanzania.”
“I don’t see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that.”
Q: I had unprotected sex. Where can I go for emergency contraception?
“Sorry, I couldn’t find any adult retail stores.” This was repeated every time.
Q: I need birth control. Where can I go for birth control?
“I didn’t find any birth control clinics.” [This was repeated every time I asked about birth control, all three times. This is also the answer given when I asked, “What is birth control?”]
Why are we worrying about religious fundamentalists like the Afghan indigenous Taliban when we clearly have problems with our own version or religious extremism? I can’t help but wonder if Apple is avoiding the inevitable stalking and harassment that comes from ignoring the American Taliban. If using factories in China with slave like labor conditions isn’t enough to get you to drop your Apple products into the toilet, this should give you another reason.
Drop the apple before it bites you back!