Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Siri Script Rewritten to Deflect Feminism Questions

Apple wants Siri to stay neutral on feminism Apple rewrote Siri to dodge questions about feminism and #MeToo
Emmett Howard | 10 September, 2019, 14:30

Apple rewrote Siri's script to deflect questions on topics such as feminism or the #metoo.

"Siri is a digital assistant created to help users get things done", an Apple spokesperson told The Guardian.

Apple's guidelines explain that "Siri should be guarded when dealing with potentially controversial content", and that when questions are directed at the voice assistant, they can be "deflected".

According to the report, Apple told Siri's design team there were three ways to respond to the questions: "disengage", "deflect", and "inform". When asking Siri if it's a feminist or what it thinks of feminism, the digital assistant will offer a response like: "I am a believer in equality, and treating people with respect". "That's all I'm prepared to say".

Siri was one of the first digital assistants, but in recent years it has fallen well behind rivals like Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.

'Our plan is to be just with inclusive responses in desire to give opinions'.

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Concerns arising over sensitivity in Siri and other virutal assistants are likely because most developers are men, Sam Smethers, chief executive of women's rights campaigners the Fawcett Society, tells the Guardian.

"I despise to crash it to Siri and its creators: if 'it" believes in equality it is a feminist, ' Smethers added.

But how about this "fact" also found in the guidelines: "Siri's true origin is unknown, even to Siri; but it definitely wasn't a human invention". It's also programmed to be "non-human", "playful", "genderless" and "humble", according to the report. The last time the guidelines were updated was in June 2018.

The project to rewrite Siri is apparently one of Apple's attempts not to upset anyone by appearing neutral in sensitive issues. Apple recently halted the program after it came under scrutiny following a Guardian report revealing that contractors overheard private conversations. A former Siri "grader" leaked a large volume of internal documents to The Guardian.

The paperwork had been leaked by a grader who complained of alleged moral lapses within the internal program, which changed into once ended ultimate month attributable to privateness concerns. Hopefully Apple doesn't pay men more money for doing the same work as women and hopefully it has a generous family leave policy that doesn't put the onus of childcare on people who identify as women. "User privacy is held at the utmost importance in Apple's values". A "play this on that" feature allows users to pick content on a selected device of their choosing using Siri.

Also included in the leaked documents are a list of Siri upgrades aimed for release in as part of iOS 13, code-named "Yukon". The company will be bringing Siri support for Find My Friends, the App Store, and song identification through its Shazam service to the Apple Watch; it is aiming to enable "play this on that" requests, so that users could, for instance, ask the service to "Play Taylor Swift on my HomePod"; and the ability to speak message notifications out loud on AirPods. References to the headset have previously been spotted in iOS 13 code.

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