Apple Siri gender bias or glitch?

Siri’s obvious unwillingness to help a woman to find abortion clinics has created ire. The latest controversy could not have come at a time when the company is facing tough competition from their Android-powered counterpart.  Angered by Siri’s failure to locate even one result has had people sign mass petitions to Apple. Blogs and comments are keeping the controversy alive thus putting Apple in a delicate situation. We have to see how they tackle this serious issue.

As always, the problem with Apple is they fail to understand that to develop such an effective feature, Siri has to learn about the user; it should customize itself to know every detail about an institution or an individual. Guess what? Siri transforms your speech into a search algorithm and uses the 3rd part search engine to obtain result. If the search engine fails to return the information, Apple gets the blame for not having programmed that way. 

So is Apple actually trying to keep you from having an abortion or finding contraception? Well Siri, helps you find many things associated with men but few things for women. Though it’s not like that, but it seems that way.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said

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.

As for the comment about beta version, apparently Apple has programmed the system to pick out millions of combinations of input; nevertheless they acknowledge it is under process.

Apple has not rebutted Siri so far; unlike in the past when they acted on moral ground and pulled off several apps from its iOS App because they were objectionable or offensive. A “gay cure” app, which purportedly keyed out renowned people, vanished after users raised fears.

So in one way, Apple is setting example for others, and needs to be careful, because to do something like this it needs a great deal of trust in the party that collects this data.

Author: Jayan CM

Business Writer, Content writer, Technical writer