There’s growing controversy over abortion-related advice given (or in some cases not given) by Apple’s Siri software, the personal assistant program in the latest iPhone model. Researchers have discovered that in some cases Siri will allegedly refuse to give direction to abortion clinics, and might even direct users to anti-abortion centres.
Apple says that there’s no conspiracy, and that there are still some bugs to be ironed out of Siri. But the abortion controversy highlights the continuing problems faced by companies who have to deal with users who have vastly differing demands. For some people, Siri’s current stance is perfectly acceptable, even desirable. For others, it’s tantamount to moral censorship.
Apple is expected to sort out some sort of ‘fix’ for the problem soon, but if the company goes too far in the other direction, it will likely draw the ire of anti-abortion campaigners. Then again, perhaps there are some things smartphones aren’t really meant to be used for at all.