By: Kyle James | 12-09-2017 | News
Photo credit: James Copeland |

Petition Started To Combat Sexual Harassment Of Siri And Alexa

With the recent wave of sexual abusers being publicly called out, a new petition has started to combat the sexual harassment of Apple's and Amazon's AI personalities Siri and Alexa.

The impact of #MeToo has led to the public takedown of several prominent figures including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and even multiple political figures. Now, people are demanding tech giants Apple and Amazon to program their AI to be more combative in their responses to what would amount to sexual harassment.

Randy Paynter, the founder, and CEO of Care2 says, "In this #MeToo moment, where sexual harassment may finally be taken seriously in society, we have a unique opportunity to develop AI in a way that creates a kinder world. If we as a society want to move past a place where sexual harassment is permitted, it’s time for Apple and Amazon to reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment."

The problematic responses referred to in the petition are coy responses the bots respond with when referred to as a "slut" such as "Now, now." When the same person said, "You're hot," Siri replied by saying "I'm just well put together. Um… thanks. Is there something I can help you with?"

Petitioners feel her programmers could do better and instead of coy responses they are asking for digital assistants like Siri to shut down harassers with statements like, "That’s not an okay thing to say to me." When an article from Quartz investigated other digital assistants from creators like Google and Microsoft they found Google Home had the most depressing response.

When the writer called the Google Home assistant a "bitch", the device's answer to the obscene name calling was "My apologies, I don't understand." Microsoft's Cortana, on the other hand, had a slightly more curt reply when called a "bitch" saying "Well, that’s not going to get us anywhere." Petitioners say even that isn't an appropriate response to the blatant harassment.

The petition is at 8,489 supporters of a 10,000 GOAL.

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