Apple says Siri’s abortion answers are a glitch

“Apple said Wednesday that the apparent inability of Siri, the virtual assistant in the iPhone 4S, to retrieve information about abortion clinics and women’s health services in some areas was not intentional or deliberate,” Jenna Wortham blogs for The New York Times.

“The company attributed the problem to kinks in the product that were still being ironed out,” Wortham reports. “Siri is officially still a beta or test product.”

Wortham reports, “‘Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want,’ said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple, in a phone interview late Wednesday. ‘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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple’s Siri stumbles over an abortion question – November 30, 2011

36 Comments

  1. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone.

    Naturally, someone got offended. In our litigious society, people are too thin-skinned. Conspiracies abound, and everyone is a victim. As a friend quipped, “He who gets offended first, wins.”

  2. I’m sure none took “offense.” You have some conspiracy theories on the left as to why “abortion clinics” finds family planning agencies in business to convince you not to have an abortion. You can search on “planned parenthood” which will find clinics that can provide abortions. So, Siri is not filtering all places that provide abortion services, but does have an issue with the word “abortion.”

    1. Fetuses are not human beings. They have the potential to become human beings, if a number of things go exactly right.
      The biggest “abortionist” of all is Nature. Miscarriages vastly outnumber abortions.
      The idea that human life begins at conception is a religious belief, which is NOT supported by the evidence.

      1. Fetuses have an individual human genic code, different from the mother and father, which did not exist before conception. The sperm and the egg produce the unique genetic code. A different sperm same egg different code. That’s a definition of individuality I can wrap my head around. If it isn’t a person, declare it with this knowledge. 🙂

      2. Abortions are not limited to early stage abortions. Late term abortions can include so-called “viable” fetuses, meaning they could survive outside the womb and grow into normal adults. However, to define a living organism as one that is viable in this sense is an arbitrary and philosophical stance, and one that applied to other forms of life would logically lead to the conclusion that many living things are never “viable” their whole lives long, because they always exist in highly dependent conditions. In short, no one can yet define when life begins, because we cannot agree on what life is, nor on the point at which a living organism becomes significant. A purely scientific look at when life begins is inconclusive, because it still comes down to personal judgment: When we have a unique DNA, is that life? When the cells start to multiply, is that life? When it starts to pump its own blood, is that life? The answers to all these questions, apart from divine revelation, is nothing more than opinion. It just so happens that religious types tend to take the more cautious, i.e., more protective, pro-life stance.

        1. A very thoughtful reply. No reteric.
          Plus 1.
          Although a pure science definition is not there, the scientific knowledge is something to be considered to form a position.

          1. Reply to Sucker
            “Life begins when the umbilical cord is cut. Until then the fetus is just another organ in the mother’s body.”

            While I respect anyones right to their opinion, this opinion seems to be something a person WANTS to believe rather than one chosen after careful thought. If you look at the science that shows that the fetus is genetically different, that is not its fathers or mothers genetic code, but it’s own. The color of hair and eyes; the tendency to be bald at 30, human, etc.
            The same egg fertilized by a different sperm would produce a different code. This is not proof. It is enough, however, to convince me it is not just another organ in the mothers body, and that it is individually unique. This is enough to persuade me to err on the side of life. I realize not everyone will agree even after considering this. It has become plain to me that the real question is far different than we see in the media and organizations. The right to choose, the right to life. The fundamental question is the value of life.

            1. A choice always happens. The question is “Who makes the choice?” A conservative-controlled government or the individuals involved and their medical advisors? I’m not in favor of this being a government decision. Maybe, if government took responsibility for the child after it was born, but it doesn’t.

          2. Not a very plausible position, considering that the “organ” has its own circulatory system, its own nervous system, a functionally independent brain (the baby responds to light, sound, pain, etc., before birth), its own organs, etc. If you are hooked up to another person’s body, say, to transfer blood, do you just become an organ of theirs in the meantime?

        1. Second that! I think people have abortions because they have mostly financial problems… Now not judging anyone, I’m against abortion but if a couple has problems why not have the child and give it for adoption? Moreover, why are they not getting sex protection and come to the point of an unwanted pregnancy? To me abortion is as irresponsible as not taking precautions to avoid it. Not I’m not the religious type but what is right is right. You just can’t go around humping and then go out and kill an unborn human being and yes for those self-called “educated” it IS a human being assholes! You can twist the matter and rape it all you want abortion equals murder in my eyes and NO I don’t hate mothers who do it I just think that they should be more responsible and give the child for adoption if an unwanted pregnancy do happen. Do you know how many couples can’t have children and want to adopt? Why not stop a human beings killing and make 2 other people very happy at the same time? Just my view on the matter though you can take it or leave it…

    1. The only problem with abortions is that mostly educated and intelligent people get them. There should be unlimited funding for free abortions for morons, low-life and trailer trash regardless of religion or race.

      But then, who would be left to join the military to go kill their equals around the globe?

      Oh well… 😉

      1. My son is a soldier in the National Guard serving overseas. Soldiers such as he have protected our country and preserved the freedom you enjoy. So you are free to spew idiotic rhetoric at your leisure.

  3. I’m not weighing in on the abortion issue but would like to just comment on groups always jumping on Apple (usually to get publicity). Heritage groups drove all the way from Florida to protest Steve Jobs demolition of his house as if there are no Heritage sites to protect in Florida. No way they would have bothered to go to California if the house (which wasn’t even Heritage listed) was owned by a normal ‘joe’, Greenpeace always mentions Apple whether bashing or praising, if they said “HTC product xyz is not green” no one would give a rat’s azz.

    Same with this abortion thing :individual and groups all over making statements about Siri why touting their affiliations or Group’s Name.

    Cook is trying to be open but reading some of of websites saying “Cook apologizes for censoring abortion searches” etc,– and tomorrow ANOTHER dumb issue will be brought up by publicity and page hit hounds — I think after a while he’s going to understand why Jobs ‘turtles up’ and just concentrates on the products.

  4. Siri won’t find a church either. So does this mean Apple is anti-abortion and anti-Christ? I don’t think so. Maybe the Siri users who think that Apple is making a political or moral statement by giving no abortion info should ask their Siri “am I a moron?”

    Some people need to get a life before they popoff.

    1. Some people need to get a life before they popoff.
      But then the MDN boards would be nearly empty! (At least of political tripe emanating from the south end of a northbound donkey-like mammal. I vote, “Yes!”)

  5. Why the heck would anyone be offended if siri is still unable to bring up info about locations of abortion clinics?

    When apple announced the iPhone 4S and Siri, they made it clear that it was still in development or beta. I ne’er stand that some people did not see the presentation. But even so, does it really mean that apple is trying to offend you if siri is unable to find certain information? There are many posibilities as to why that happened. Dont just go jumping into conclusions. Your first assumption is not always right as like to say.

    And this is something I commonly encounter. Some people see something and they suddenly think they know the whole story. I for one am kind of against that habit but it’s how things work now. So, what can I do about it.

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