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.” [Matthew Warner]
As a software developer this is a time when I can say “that is not a bug, it is a feature” with no irony attached.
Though I have to think how sad it is that somebody was testing this feature out and some abortion supporters are upset about it. Come on really? Some women thwarted from getting an abortion because her phone wouldn’t tell her where an abortion clinic is? You know it is just one of those spur of the moment things where you don’t want to have to do any research.
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.”