Siri Doesn’t Know About Your Lady Stuff

129202541.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeAmanda Marcotte in Slate:

The programmers behind Siri seem to be a bunch of gleefully juvenile dudes who took the time to teach Siri corny jokes, marijuana know-how and sci-fi references, along with teaching it about serious problems that can affect both men and women, such as suicidal thoughts. And even though they really like the idea of sex with women, they seem to have not thought much about the work that women have to put into being sexually accessible. Just as with the mind-boggling name fail of the iPad, the problem seems to be that there simply aren't enough women working in innovative, customer-driven technology services, and the ones who do have to adopt a bro-like attitude that makes them nearly as forgetful of the concerns of ordinary women as the men are.

I don't have Siri on my phone, but my boyfriend does, and like pretty much all dorks left alone with Siri for five minutes, we've had our fun playing with it. It was also pretty stupid when I asked it for a vasectomy. Just as with the phrase “birth control”, it had no ability to look past the actual name of clinics, so instead of producing the names of local urologists, it gave me a couple of seedy-sounding places with the word “vasectomy” right in their name. But I still can't see this as some kind of egalitarian fail on the reproductive health front; even though vasectomies are performed on men, they are done to protect women from pregnancy. Again, it just seems that some of the most basic, everyday health concerns of women hadn't registered as important with Siri's programmers. When I used some common slang terms for oral sex performed on women with it, Siri seemed to think I was in the the mood for a hamburger or on the market to buy a cat (and shame on Siri for sending me to a pet store instead of a local animal shelter!). It had zero problem knowing what I meant when I referenced fellatio.