Apple Reprogrammed Siri to ‘Deflect’ Questions on #MeToo and Feminism (Report)

Voice assistant has been programmed to take a neutral stance on “sensitive topics”

Apple has re-engineered Siri, its voice assistant, to avoid answering questions on “sensitive topics” like the #MeToo movement and feminism, according to a Friday report from The Guardian.

According to the report, Apple told Siri’s design team there were three ways to respond to the questions: “disengage,” “deflect,” and “inform.” The company’s internal guidelines call for Siri to be “guarded when dealing with potentially controversial content,” while adding “care must be taken here to be neutral.”

When previously asked questions like “are you a feminist?” Siri would simply tell its users it didn’t know. Now, Siri offers responses like “I believe that all voices are created equal and worth equal respect” or “It seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.”

The voice assistant will also offer a “stern” reply if it’s asked questions like if Siri is a “slut,” compared to more light-hearted responses in the past like “I’d blush if I could.”

Apple did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

“Siri is a digital assistant designed to help users get things done,” an Apple spokesperson told The Guardian. “The team works hard to ensure Siri responses are relevant to all customers. Our approach is to be factual with inclusive responses rather than offer opinions.”

Apple’s internal guidelines told developers that “in nearly all cases, Siri doesn’t have a point of view.” It’s also programmed to be “non-human,” “playful,” “genderless” and “humble,” according to the report.

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