Yesterday, we heard about concerns raised by the ACLU and other groups that Apple’s Siri voice assistant had a bit of a rightward slant, and wasn’t providing complete and accurate information when asked about topics like abortion providers and retailers selling birth control. Apple has now had a chance to address these concerns, and explains that there’s no ill intent behind Siri’s behavior.
Ultimately, Apple points out, Siri is still a product very much in beta, and as such it’s not going to nail user requests 100% of the time. A company spokesperson explained, “these are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks.”
A large part of this problem is likely due to the database sources Siri uses to find results, compiled from sites like Yelp. Unless those listings specifically label drug stores as “birth control retailers”, it can be hard for Siri to know to include them amongst its results, which was pretty much the feeling we had yesterday for why there might be an innocent explanation behind this supposed controversy.
It’s nice to get all that neatly wrapped-up, while also hearing assurances from Apple that Siri will only be getting better. In the meantime, make sure you keep Siri’s limitations in mind, and don’t forget you can always save the voice control for another time, and just Google your query the old-fashioned way.