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ACLU blasts Apple's virtual assistant to get directions for abortions

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 1st, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The ACLU is complaining, this time because Apple's popular new virtual assistant, Siri, can't direct you to an abortion clinic. The group has launched an online petition asking people to flood Apple offices with requests to "fix Siri." 

Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM) - The ACLU wrote on a blog post on Wednesday, "Although it isn't clear that Apple is intentionally trying to promote an anti-choice agenda, it is distressing that Siri can point you to Viagra, but not the Pill, or help you find an escort, but not an abortion clinic. We're confident that the developers at Apple want to provide iPhone users with accurate information."

Apple has replied that the omission wasn't intentional and that Siri is still in beta testing so there are "places where we can do better." It is believed that as more and more data is uploaded into Siri's database, then the digital assistant will be able to field more general requests.

Siri is a popular digital assistant on the iPhone 4S, and owners can simply push a button and ask virtually anything. When the iPhone 4S was initially released, owners had fun by asking all kinds of questions, including silly ones such as "Open the pod bay doors" and "will you marry me?"
 
But Siri's capabilities are not just for fun. Using only voice commands users can send text messages, make voice calls, and search the internet. They can also ask for directions.
 
Siri is capable of directing people to specific locations, but sometimes users have to be specific. 
Siri is not a conscious entity, but rather "she" (she has a female voice in the USA) lives in Apple's cloud and processes millions of questions and requests every day. It is up to Apple programmers to upload the data she needs to fulfill requests. Also, the technology still being perfected, so users cannot always expect accurate replies to every question.

Still, as a tool, it is up to users how they wish to use it. Users can use Siri to find a specific location such as a Planned Parenthood clinic. But they can also use it to find a specific counseling center, adoption agency, or a church too. 

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)