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Siri's #MeToo Responses Show Why Tech Needs Women

By The Mercury News

October 10, 2019

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Apple's Siri virtual assistant has been "reset" to provide better responses to questions about gender, feminism, and the #MeToo movement, according to The Guardian.

When previously asked about feminism, Siri had pre-been programmed to say, "I just don't get this whole gender thing," and, "My name is Siri, and I was designed by Apple in California. That's all I'm prepared to say."

The "reset" also addresses initial answers to questions about the #MeToo movement: Once, when users called Siri a "slut," the service responded: "I'd blush if I could." Now, a much sterner reply is offered: "I won't respond to that."

These programming missteps could have been avoided altogether if there were more women involved in Siri's design and programming.

There are increasing concerns about who designs tech tools and the related implications: whether the designers, who are mostly men, embed gender and other norms in what they design; and, how technology perpetuates offensive and dangerous offline behavior.

It is imperative that women and girls can use technology to fully access education and financial services, grow their businesses, and communicate with family and friends. At the same time, it is critical that technology reflects the lives of women and girls, and does not perpetuate outdated norms or replicate offline harassment and gender-based violence.

From The Mercury News
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