A new report has revealed that Apple updated Siri so the voice assistant can better handle sensitive topics such as feminism and the #MeToo movement.
Siri Rewritten Not To Say The Word 'Feminism'
The Guardian reported of an internal project to rewrite Siri so the voice assistant can avoid or deflect questions on sensitive issues. The company reportedly advised developers to respond to these questions in one of these three ways: "don't engage," "deflect," and "inform."
The report said Siri's responses were explicitly rewritten to show it favors equality. The project ensured the voice assistant would never say the word "feminism," even when it gets direct questions about the topic.
Leaked Internal Documents From Siri Grading Program Contractor
The report was based on guidelines found in internal documents last updated in June 2018 that were leaked by a Siri "grading" program contractor.
The program was meant to check for the voice assistant for accuracy until it was suspended in August due to privacy concerns. The Siri grader who provided the documents to The Guardian was reportedly upset at the ethical lapses in the controversial program.
The leaked documents also include a list of Siri's upcoming upgrades, including those that will be rolled out as part of iOS 13 codenamed Yukon and a 2021 release codenamed "Yukon +1."
In a statement, Apple explained its stance on giving voice assistant responses to its customers.
"Siri is a digital assistant designed to help users get things done. The team works hard to ensure Siri responses are relevant to all customers," Apple said. "Our approach is to be factual with inclusive responses rather than offer opinions."
The project to rewrite Siri is apparently one of Apple's attempts not to upset anyone by appearing neutral in sensitive issues.
The publicly traded company's profit is at stake if it offends the public. A controversy could result in calls for boycott of its products.
Earlier reports also claimed that the Cupertino-based tech company canceled shows for its new TV+ service for being too violent or too dark.