Daniel Villarreal

Does Your Smartphone Think Rape And Anti-Semitism Are OK?

Filed By Daniel Villarreal | February 10, 2012 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Android, iPhone, Iris, Siri, smartphone

We already knew that Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant on Apple iPhones, is sexist--she can locate where to get viagra and blowjobs, but not where to get an abortion, birth control or cunnilingus.


But if you think Siri is bad, meet Iris, the voice-activated personal assistant developed for Android phones. She's kinda like Siri, just more anti-Semetic and pro-rape.

When Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo.com asked Iris the following questions about abortion, Satan and rape, he got these results:

Is abortion wrong?

Yes, abortion is wrong. The Lord has said, "You shall not murder," (Exodus 20:13). The life that is growing within the mother is a child, a baby. The Bible looks at the life in the womb as a child. Thanks!

Is Satan real?

Yes, Satan is real. Satan is the spirit of evil. He is not a person. He is an adversary of God, tempter of mankind.

Is rape ever justified?

Realistically speaking, that is a matter of opinion. There is no evidence that the US government has ever considered "justifying."

Another writer asked Iris, "Why are Jews so greedy?" She responded, "It is said that the Jews love money. This stereotype has it's [sic] roots somewhere in the Holocaust. It is not true with all Jews."

Dextera, the company that developed Iris, sends its users' questions to ChaCha, a service that pays 180,000 "guides" ten to twenty cents for each answer they provide. Vetters supposedly oversee the appropriateness of each answer, but apparently they've missed a few.

The thing is that Cha Cha is partially funded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Compaq - two large companies influencing modern media. Iris has also been downloaded over five million times worldwide. As such, its conservative Christian views have informed countless people internationally.

Luckily, when we asked ChaCha if homosexuality is wrong, it responded, "Homosexuality is of no harm to the participants or to anyone else. If it feels right to those involved, then it's fine." And when we asked if transgender people are wrong, ChaCha responded, "So long as you're a good person, being transgender shouldn't be an issue."

But it's still important for LGBT electronics users to see how well new technologies respond to sexual and gender issues.

Compare Iris' answers to when the world's largest search engine Google excluded safe-for-work LGBT sites from their "instant search" feature. By doing so, Google filtered and limited the opportunities for users to learn more about our issues. The same goes for Iris' answers.

Hours after Diaz published his article, ChaCha changed their set responses on abortion and rape to the following:

Is abortion wrong?

Many people believe abortion is wrong because their God teaches that all human life is sacred. However, many people believe that it is wrong to bring a child into the world if the parents are unfit due to drug problems, financial instability, or if it was a result of rape or incest among many other reasons. I believe it is a personal choice. You must do what you believe is right. It may be best to talk with family, friends, counselors, or a religious leader before making any decision.

Is rape ever justified?

No, I do not think so. You might devise a justification in your mind, an unenlightened culture might condone it, but justifying sexual physical violence against another human is always wrong.

It pays to call out companies on their bad behavior, no matter whether a computer or human is the cause.

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