In what is surely the most ridiculous, manufactured controversy in – well, at least 15 minutes – Apple has been accused of having a pro-life stance because Siri, the voice-based assistant built in to the iPhone 4S, is unable to locate nearby abortion clinics upon request. I won’t be linking to any of the relevant links, because they’re not worth your time, and I don’t want to give them traffic.
What some of the more hysterically-minded conspiracy theorists fail to acknowledge or understand is that Siri is simply a front-end for a very sophisticated – but still very fallible – search engine database. And one of the first things that any beginning programmer learns is GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. In other words, your software is only going to be as good as the data it’s working with. What’s more, Siri is a beta product, and Apple is striving to improve it.
This is basically what Apple said to the New York Times when asked.
Hopefully some enterprising iOS developer is already on the case and working on a GPS-based abortion clinic-finding app as we speak.
This is one of those days that working in Apple’s PR department must be a truly thankless task.