Apple reprogrammed Siri to never say the word ‘feminism’

Apple rewrote Siri to dodge questions about feminism and #MeToo

Leaked Apple documents point to Siri getting major upgrades in 2021

The rules say that questions directed at Siri, accessible on most Apple gadgets, together with Iphones, Ipads and HomePods, 'might be deflected ... nevertheless, care should be taken right here to be impartial'. For instance, Siri used to say, "I just don't get this whole gender thing", when asked about topics like gender equality.

An internal project to rewrite how Apple's Siri voice assistant handles "sensitive topics" such as feminism and the #MeToo movement advised developers to respond in one of three ways: "don't engage", "deflect" and finally "inform".

A reveal from the company in regards to the leaked concepts acknowledged Apple's team, 'works exhausting to fabricate obvious Siri responses are connected to all prospects, ' experiences the Guardian. Siri will generally reply with statements about "treating humans equally" when questioned about topics such as feminism, but documents suggest that the best way to treat sensitive social issues is to pull information on them directly from Siri's "knowledge graph" which grabs information from Wikipedia on the topic. "Our approach is to be factual with inclusive responses rather than offer opinions".

The leaked documents also have guidelines for making sure Siri doesn't have a point of view and doesn't forget that it's a 'non-human'.

In addition to Siri health capabilities, the report also describes several changes coming to the AI assistant in iOS 13. In reference to the word feminism, the guidelines reportedly said: "Siri should be guarded when dealing with potentially controversial content". The same is true for other topics like gender equality and women's rights. Two years ago, Quartz reported on a petition from users asking Apple and Amazon to reprogram Siri and Alexa, respectively, to respond to a harassment and nasty remarks with more proactive chastisement.

The leaked documents also reveal the scale of the grading programme in the weeks before it was shut down: in just three months, graders checked nearly 7mn clips just from iPads, from 10 different regions; they were expected to go through the same amount of information again from at least five other audio sources, such as cars, bluetooth headsets, and Apple TV remotes. "User privacy is held at the utmost importance in Apple's values".

Apple then apologized - and promised that come fall, the grading project will resume and become opt-in, and that those who decide to participate can rest easy knowing that their personal conversations and activities will be listened to by Apple employees, rather than contractors. These will include built-in machine translation and, intriguingly, support for a new, unspecified piece of Siri hardware.

The leaked documents also showed that Siri's responses for questions related to the #MeToo movement were also rewritten.

It looks like Apple chose to play dodgeball when it comes to "having the talk" with the users.

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