It looks like Apple decided to play dodgeball when it comes to “having the talk” with the users. According to a report published by The Guardian (via Gizmodo), an internal document governing Siri was rewritten to avoid sensitive topics. The document instructed developers to respond in one of three ways: “don’t engage”, “deflect” and finally “inform”.
The document revealed that Siri was rewritten to say it was in favour of “equality” but never say the word feminism – even when asked direct questions about the topic. Apple defended itself by saying, “Siri should be guarded when dealing with potentially controversial content”. When asked feminism related questions like “Are you a feminist?” Siri replies “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 same is true for other topics like gender equality and women’s rights.
This is not the first time Apple has made changes to Siri to avoid taking a stance on controversial topics. Earlier, Apple did the same with the #MeToo movement to make sure Siri stays neutral.
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. Our approach is to be factual with inclusive responses rather than offer opinions.
As usual, we won’t take a stance on whether Apple is doing the right thing or not. Apple is definitely not a saint but I personally think AI tools, in general, shouldn’t take a stance on political or controversial topics. I won’t take a stance in favour or against Apple’s decision. That’s for our readers to decide.