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BY Matthew Warner
Abortion supporters are outraged by the latest iPhone 4S feature, Siri:
Ask Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant for the iPhone, for ideas on where to eat dinner or whether you need an umbrella, and it will deliver helpful localized suggestions.
But try asking it to find a local abortion clinic, and the software turns up a puzzling blank — even in areas that clearly have such clinics. The response in Manhattan is: “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.” (NYT)
For those who don’t know, the latest iPhone 4S has a cool new feature called Siri. It’s an amazing virtual assistant that essentially allows you to ask it any kind of question and it’s able to either search and find the answer, or to even carry out the command on your phone. “Wake me up at 8am.” Text Message Mom, I’m on my way.” “Where can I find the closest monster truck rally?”
Siri can do just about anything. But, apparently, one thing it can’t do is find the closest abortion clinic. Repeated tests thus far have shown Siri to mysteriously come up short when asking it about abortion clinics or emergency contraception. Looking for strips clubs or escort services? No problem. But abortion? Siri does not compute.
Was this intentional by Apple? Nobody has been able to find out so far. I’d guess, no. It’s probably just that the location services directory they are using happens to treat abortion clinics differently in some way or something. And I’ll bet this little detail works itself out in time. But we can hope, right?
I mean, who knows, maybe someone at Apple decided they’d rather not be an accomplice to the “demand” part of abortion-on-demand. I’m hopeful, but I’m not holding my breath.
UPDATE (h/t @geerlingguy): “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.” - Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple. Full story here.
Well, I’m offended that she thought it would offend me. And that she thinks helping people find abortion clinics is doing “better.” But I…I mean, they…digress.