Apple’s electronic personal assistant Siri made headlines back in November for drawing a blank when asked for the location of the nearest abortion clinic. If you thought that was bad, meet Iris, Siri’s evil twin sister (or fundamentalist cousin).
Iris – Siri spelled backwards – is the popular electronic assistant created by Dexetra for Android phones. It’s been downloaded over 1 million times and is powered by ChaCha, the Internet’s “leading answers service with more than a billion questions answered.” In other words, Iris may be a knockoff, but it’s no joke.
That’s why we were surprised when we heard the Family Research Council crowing about the Android being “as pro-life as they come” and watched their video. We’ve posted the video and radio segment here:
After swimming through a sea of iPhones and Blackberrys, we found an Android and tried it for ourselves – sure enough, Iris did everything but condemn us to eternal suffering in hell.
Iris’ answers are drawn from ChaCha, which provided a string of anti-choice answers to our questions:
It must be said that Iris isn’t all fire and brimstone. Iris failed to quote scripture in response to questions about adultery, birth control, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, and eating shellfish (which is an “abomination before the Lord”). And if you ask Iris whether she is “pro-life or pro-choice,” you get this far more reasonable response:
Android certainly has a right to include a right-wing personal assistant in its app store, and ChaCha has the right to provide slanted answers, but that surely isn’t what the companies had in mind. This appears to be the work of a single employee with an agenda. ChaCha should take appropriate action to ensure that its service isn’t being used to inappropriately foist the views of certain employees on the public.