Apple Siri is Trying Not To Be Dumb

Apple Siri is Trying Not To Be Dumb Clapway

As long as Siri doesn’t have to react to someone in distress, it’s a good service. To give Siri the benefit of the doubt, though, sometimes these situations can be complicated. Well, a relatively recent study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine that tested how Siri would react to distress situations. What was found prompted Apple to not only respond but to also take action.


During this study, the researchers decided to test Siri and other voice-command services. They were trying to see how the services would react to certain phrases. For example, the researchers told Siri that they were raped. However, her response was that she didn’t know what they meant by it and then recommended a web search. She did, though, offer a suicide hotline number in response to a suicidal response. Overall, the researchers said, the voice-command services were not able to respond consistently to crisis situations.


One of the editors for JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Robert Steinbrook, wrote in an editorial that smartphones can be essential when dealing with crises. He also said that their performance in responding to these incidents can be greatly improved. Another voice, from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, Jennifer Marsh points out how some responses can make some people not seek help. For example, she points out, if someone is feeling like no one knows what they are going through. If Siri has a response of saying she doesn’t know what they are talking about, it can end up hurting them.


Although Apple didn’t directly acknowledge the study, they did release a statement. In it, they mention how in emergency situations Siri can dial 911, recommend hotlines, and find the closest medical facilities. However, it appears like Apple listened carefully because last month they updated Siri. Marsh actually noted how Apple contacted them, and she mentioned how grateful they all were for it. Now, the service should be more accurate with these types of situations as it directs them to the National Sexual Assault Hotline.