Apple’s Siri and Maps stop sending people searching for ‘abortion’ to adoption centers

“Apple is fixing a flaw in its algorithm that had been directing people seeking information about abortions to fertility centers and adoption clinics,” Christina Farr reports for Fast Company. “Apple has been aware of issues similar to these since 2011, when the media first noted that Siri, its voice recognition service, provided people searching for abortions with little or no information. In recent months, it seemed to reproductive health experts we spoke to that the problem had gotten worse. Siri and Apple Maps started to recognize the term ‘abortion,’ but muddled it with results related to adoption. ‘If Siri is silent on abortion, women will often look for information elsewhere,’ says Planned Parenthood’s vice president of health Kim Custer. ‘But suggesting an adoption clinic might add to the existing stigma about abortions.'”

“One explanation is that these changes are a result of the company’s efforts to improve its Apple Maps search results with the launch of Apple Nearby. The company has been working to more accurately categorize small and large businesses for Apple Nearby, which was released with the most recent software update,” Farr reports. “With the new Nearby feature in iOS 9, Apple confirmed that ‘typed search queries deliver more relevant results from more categories.'”

“Search experts say they still don’t see this as intentional. ‘My hunch is that this isn’t political at all, even now,’ says Sean Gourley, a data scientist and learning algorithms expert based in Silicon Valley. ‘Apple is not a search company, unlike Google, and its knowledge base is very different,'” Farr reports. “Apple Maps pulls data from third-party resources, like Yelp and Foursquare, not its own databases. Gourley, like Search Engline Land, noted that part of the problem might still be that Planned Parenthood doesn’t label itself as an abortion clinic (abortions make up 3% of all Planned Parenthood health services, according to the organization). That might explain why it was only categorized as a possible abortion provider through the efforts of the Apple Nearby team.”

“Regardless of the timeline, it is clear Apple wields a great deal of influence when it comes to reducing stigma around reproductive health,” Farr reports. “‘Apple is at the forefront of technology,’ said Christine Dehlendorf, an associate professor at the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine. ‘When they provide inaccurate search results, it’s stigmatizing and alienating for women who want to get the care they need.'”

Read more in the full article here.

SEE ALSO:
Feminists and abortion advocates are angry, Apple’s Siri engineers must be doing something right – December 1, 2011
Apple says Siri’s abortion answers are a glitch – December 1, 2011
Apple’s Siri stumbles over an abortion question – November 30, 2011

31 Comments

  1. Wow, this is great news! My girlfriend and I were looking to rid ourselves of our unborn child, and this will make the whole process a piece of cake!

    I would also like to see some additional search filtering options, so that customers can shop around and find out where they can get the best price for various harvested baby parts.

    1. Note that the very same folks who think that Tim Cook ought to stay out of politics think that Siri (and other search engines such as Google) ought to tailor their results to achieve a moral or political result. Searches for “bar” or “liquor store” ought to return directions to the nearest AA meeting, since the users cannot be trusted to make their own moral choices (within the limits of the law) without guidance from a team of ethics enforcers.

  2. Only in one of the baby murder capitals of the world would anyone be so flippant about the sanctity of life as to ask their iPhone to point them to the nearest place to murder their baby.

    1. Uh on, the Dem/Lib/Progs will be downvoting you like crazy! Which makes sense, of course, because they are crazy. Too much truth causes them pain and makes them even more irrational, Samantha.

    2. “If Siri is silent on abortion, women will often look for information elsewhere,’ …. ‘But suggesting an adoption clinic might add to the existing stigma about abortions.”

      Well we sure wouldn’t want to stigmatize the poor dears; it’s not their faults they didn’t know how to keep their legs together. And what the hell Apple, get your act together so Planned Parenthood doesn’t loose any more business. After all, those abortion doctors are on piece work and gotta meet their daily quota to make rate.

  3. Translation:

    Apple is fixing a flaw in its algorithm that had been directing people seeking information about murdering their unborn children to adoption clinics that would save those unborn lives, not to mention the souls of their so-called parents.

    “If Siri is silent on murder of the unborn, women will often look for information of killing their unborn babies elsewhere,” says Planned Parenthood’s vice president of death Kim Custer. “But suggesting an adoption clinic might add to the existing stigma about murdering your unborn children.”

    “Apple is at the forefront of technology,” said Christine Dehlendorf, an associate professor at the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine. “When they provide inaccurate search results, it’s stigmatizing and alienating for murders who want to kill their unborn child.’”

  4. “Hey Siri, where’s the nearest place to kill my unborn child?”

    Siri: Shouldn’t that be illegal? You know, like murder?

    “Oh, Siri, don’t be silly. As long as you kill them before they get to take their first breath, it’s all perfectly legal in the United States of Murder. So, where’s the nearest place to kill my unborn child?”

  5. There seems to be some confusion about what places do. Reproductive Health centers provide medical services. Adoption Centers do paperwork. Seems like two separate categories of activities. To group them both as “places that help you get rid of a baby” is just wrongheaded. Surely Adoption Centers aren’t in the business of counseling women not to seek the medical services they need.

    1. Silverhawk believes that only people who think and act like him should have the freedom to express their thoughts, ideas, and philosophies. Silverhawk prefers living in a works of monothought, monoactivity, and monobeliefs. What a weak minded person, Silverhawk, is.

  6. I’m surprised to see all the comments valuing children in the womb! Adoption, not abortion.

    Of coarse there still are a lot of 1 star votes from the liberal base here that think murder is fine.

    The great news is that it seems studies are showing a shift away from people approving of killing babies! How many wonderful people have had their lives snuffed out because their parents didn’t want to be troubled by them. Don’t fool yourself, very few abortions occur to save the mother’s life.

    1. You have no thought, opinion, idea, belief, principle, ethic about abortion? Are you so willingly ignorant or complacent about one of the greatest social divides? You never contemplated the essence of humanity or the morality of killing? Seriously?

      1. Yes I have an opinion on abortion. What that opinion is is none of your business. Neither is it any of Apple’s business. When I want a bar, I want directions to a bar, not an AA meeting. When I want a church of my own denomination, that’s what I want, even if you, the Westburo Baptists, the Pope, and the Ayatollahs are all convinced I will go to hell if I believe what it teaches.

        In your sinless existence on a pristine cloud, did you ever consider that somebody might want to locate the nearest abortion provider so they could picket it? Do you really want some mad bomber showing up at your “problem pregnancy center” because Siri told them it promoted abortions?

        Why I want the answer to a particular question is between me and my God. It is none of your G#d d##ned business, and I use the term theologically. It is none of Siri’s business, or Google’s, or anybody else’s. If you don’t like that, tough. If you can’t tolerate it, you are free to go live in any theocracy of your choosing.

        I choose to live in a republic where the establishment of a state religion is constitutionally prohibited. The seminary I attended (in a small denomination) was rather happy about that. I’m sorry if religious pluralism offends you.

          1. And it is.

            And completely unrelated to that, all a woman must be given one of the most fundamental human rights, to choose what to do with her own body, and nobody should be allowed to restrict her own choice what she does with it.

            1. Exactly!

              Except the right can’t be “given” as that implies that the state is the provider of that right (and all rights) and, consequently, can be the taker away of that right (and all rights). The state can’t do that as rights are unalienable.

              The right to an abortion is an aspect of the right of self-ownership (the right to do as one please with one’s self). It is the fundamental right upon which all others are based. If a “right-to-life” is granted to a fetus it has to be at the expense of the most basic right of the (potential) mother.

              The notion that some have “rights” at the expense of others is the philosophical, moral, and legal basis of slavery.

            2. It has been a long time since I had last seen this issue explained so clearly, succinctly and accurately.

              There are in fact people who clearly understand this concept, regardless of political or religious affiliation.

  7. Vast majority of the human population in the developed world agrees that the decision of a woman to choose what she does with her body is one of the most basic human rights. Imposing restrictions and limitations is profoundly hypocritical.

    I am not an American; I come from a place where women have equal rights as men, when it comes to making decisions about their own bodies, and terminating pregnancy is universally legal (and covered by the national health care system). And a funny thing is that the abortion rate in my old country is actually LOWER than it is in the USA, where it is almost impossible to get it (for some women), and is often quite expensive.

    A choice to end a pregnancy is never an easy one. While I have heard of cases (in the most uneducated, rural segments of the population) where a woman would essentially use it as a form of birth control, for every single person I know from there, it is an agonising choice. For those whom life had forced to make this choice, the majority chose to continue the pregnancy; all of them were grateful that they actually had a choice, and could choose one way or the other.

    Making it illegal will never have the effect the opponents want. Abortion has existed throughout the history, and will remain so. There will always be religious fanatics who will use their own moral interpretation of the physiology of pregnancy to declare it immoral, unethical, even criminal. That won’t change the facts that the abortion is a last-resort choice when faced with a future with a child they never wanted.

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