Cyber-assistant taught to duck sensitive topics

Apple has programmed its Siri voice assistant to avoid politically charged subjects, and deflect or duck questions that require its AI to take a stand on issues, it emerged this week.

From a tranche of documents leaked by a former contract worker who evaluated Siri responses to user questions for accuracy, The Guardian obtained a set of guidelines drawn up last year to ensure Siri’s responses to “sensitive” topics comes across as neutral.

In keeping with these guidelines, Siri’s responses were revised to endorse “equality” while avoiding the word “feminism,” even if asked directly. Where once Siri responded to the question, “Are you a feminist?” with “Sorry [user name], I don’t really know,” it has since been reeducated to provide more harmless and generally acceptable responses like “It seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.”

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