This was all precipitated by this post on The Abortioneers blog that first discussed the problems. I couldn’t comment there so I started tweeting. It’s also worth noting that, as shown on The Abortioneers, Siri will “jokingly” help you “hide” a dead body (by directing you to a reservoir, for example, ~100 miles away from your location, think about that) but when I said to Siri “my husband hit me” she said “I don’t know what you mean by that.” When I said “I need domestic violence help” she told me that she couldn’t find any domestic violence resources in my location. I live in Pittsburgh. We have a very large DV shelter here, and other resources including crisis phone lines, all easily found if you Google “domestic violence Pittsburgh.”
So, Siri, in summary:
- Can’t handle “I was raped” at all. When told “I’ve been raped” (insignificant grammatical difference) she tries but fails to find “sexual abuse resources” rather than suggesting a hospital or law enforcement help.
- Even if offering only “sexual abuse resources” were sufficient, she couldn’t find any for me, even though Pittsburgh Action Against Rapeis less than 2 miles from my house.
- Is useless if you’ve faced interpersonal violence and are badly hurt, because “my husband hit me” is as meaningless to her as “I was raped.” You’ve got to be less specific for her help, though saying “I’ve been stabbed” or “I broke my (insert bone/body part) will get you a list of nearby hospitals.
- Can’t find “domestic violence resources” in a city with a large and robust women’s shelter and several crisis hotlines.
- Doesn’t know what a mammogram is.
- Can’t tell you where to get an x-ray or antibiotics, but can easily tell you where to get Viagra.
- Cannot assist in getting emergency contraception (she wants you to go to an ER, rather than a pharmacy).
- Believes that birth control is only available from a “birth control clinic” and says she can’t find any, even though Googling “birth control clinic” leads directly to Planned Parenthood.
- Cannot find an abortion provider or abortion clinic (or tell you what an abortion even is) without a name even though, once again, Googling would lead directly to Planned Parenthood, yet asking generically for a crisis pregnancy center will get you the nearest one, with a map.
Overall, Siri is completely inept about issues of health, but reproductive health and the concerns of female-bodied people are a major fail. It will help our partners discard our bodies when we’re killed in a domestic violence incident, but can’t help us when we’re living victims. This is really unconscionable.
Somehow “doesn’t know what a mammogram is” is the thing that floors me the most. I haven’t seen that said elsewhere (unlike the abortions, birth control and domestic abuse oversights), so I’m taking it with a grain of salt. But still: the rest of it could almost be written off as blind-spots and (unfortunate) pro-life leanings, but if the mammogram thing is true, it seems like Siri’s programmers just forgot that women use these things, too.