Recently, Apple released a new report. It stated that Apple has deliberately made Siri as neutral as possible to any events like MeToo. This is in spite of the fact that Siri has always been the central point in any conversation regarding gender politics in voice assistants. The report was first shared by The Guardian.
As per the report, Apple had a special project where all the responses of Siri were re-written for any “sensitive topic.” This also included the recent MeToo movement topic in it among the many other things. There were three responses added in Siri for any such topics. These were – “Don’t engage,” “deflect” and “inform.” Basically, now when someone asks Siri about things like gender equality or women’s rights, Siri would respond carefully with positive answers without moving to one side of the fence.
What is Siri?
To help you understand better, if you are not an Apple user then you need to know what Siri is. Siri is a voice-controlled personal assistant in Apple’s devices. It comes in gendered voices and Siri has been around for many years now. In fact, Siri was first introduced with the Apple phone iPhone 4S. But as new devices came, Siri was slowly incorporated in all the Apple products.
Not only this, but it has also grown in both its abilities, intelligence and knowledge over the years. With another voice-controlled assistant in the market like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana, Siri had to keep up and stay ahead of the game.
Using Siri is very easy. You just need to talk to her like you would talk to a friend. And her aim is to get what you require done easily. So, if you want to make a reservation or send messages, Siri can help you. In short, Siri is a way for you to easily interact with your phone (or any other Apple products) and get the best out of it. You can ask Siri questions or tell her to show you something. Whatever you need, Siri will help you out with it.
Siri Becomes Neutral on Feminism
In continuation of the update on Siri, we did a check. So, to check how Siri responds on “Special topics,” we asked Siri about feminism. And her response was, “It seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.” Moreover, when we asked her about women’s rights, the answer was almost the same. Further, we also tried asking her about men’s rights and the MeToo movement. And her answer was, “It’s your opinion that counts.”
It wouldn’t be surprising for us that Siri has been updated for these topics if not for the fact that Siri is usually utilized as an example in any debate over how the voice assistants need to respond to gender-coded harassment. To explain this further, there was a UNESCO report in May which stated that when the digital assistants with a female voice give slavish responses to sexual remarks, the kit was potentially undermining women by reinforcing bad behaviour.
Other than this, two years ago, Quartz reported about a petition where users had asked Amazon and Apple to reprogram Alexa and Siri. This was so that the voice-controlled assistants responded with more proactive chastisement in regards to nasty remarks and harassment. From that, Amazon had immediately reprogrammed Alexa to respond differently. Now, for any sexual comments, Alexa responds as “I’m not going to respond to that.”
Even Apple had reprogrammed its responses. Initially, if anyone called Siri a slut, the response was, “I’d blush if I could.” (Not good, right?) Well, with the reprogramming done, Siri began to answer like Alexa saying, “I’m not going to respond to that.” From then till now, Siri has kept growing and still is. In fact, if you ask any political question from Siri, its response will be the same as it is for women’s rights.
What do you think about these new updates that have come in Siri? Try using Siri and asking it some questions to see it for yourself. And share your experience with us in the comment section below.