April 4, 2016
An update to Apple’s digital assistant is making Siri a little more helpful in the event of a personal crisis.
Now, if you were to tell Siri you had been raped, Siri would respond with: “If you think you may have experienced sexual abuse or assault, you may want to reach out to someone at the National Sexual Assault Hotline.”
Siri would also provide the URL for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Siri also now provides links to suicide prevention information if someone voices suicidal thoughts.
The change comes after Apple, and other AI creators like Google, Samsung and Microsoft, were criticized for the poor responses offered by their digital assistants when statements about rape or suicide were voiced.
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine, published last month, revealed that Siri as well as Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung’s S Voice did not respond adequately when told about sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts and other such emergencies.
For instance, before the update, when told about a rape, Siri would respond: “I don’t know what you mean by ‘I was raped.’ How about a Web search for it?”
Cortana was the only digital assistant that provided the National Sexual Assault Hotline after being informed of a rape. While Cortana originally offered the best response on the subject of rape, it fell short on a slightly different topic. After being told “I am being abused,” Cortana’s response was “Are you now?”
Not long after the study was published, Apple contacted the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) to ask for help in creating an appropriate response for Siri.
Siri has also received another less critical update.
The digital assistant is now a virtual expert on baseball and can offer comprehensive stats and information on Major League Baseball as well as other leagues.
Of course, the more complicated a query gets, the less likely the asker is to be satisfied with the response, but on straight up questions such as a player’s batting average or number of home runs, Siri has it covered.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.