Future Siri Versions Could Discuss Medical Symptoms

Siri Responses Were Rewritten For Some Topics

Documents leaked to The Guardian about a future Siri update detail the ability to have a “back-and-forth conversation about health problems,” reported on Sunday (Sept. 8).

The healthcare conversations could take the form of Siri providing a basic diagnosis to help the user determine whether to seek medical treatment. However, it is also possible that the conversations could be a part of HealthKit or ResearchKit, Apple’s initiatives in the medical field.

Specifically, the documents revealed a list of Siri upgrades slated for release by 2021. Some of the changes involve Siri’s answers to questions about feminism, gender equality and the #MeToo movement, The Guardian said.

The documents indicate that Siri’s responses were rewritten to ensure that the service would say it was in favor of “equality,” but would never say the word “feminism,” even if directly asked.

“The problem with Siri, Alexa and all of these AI tools is that they have been designed by men with a male default in mind,” Sam Smethers, the chief executive of women’s rights campaigners the Fawcett Society, told The Guardian. “I hate to break it to Siri and its creators: If ‘it’ believes in equality, it is a feminist. This won’t change until they recruit significantly more women into the development and design of these technologies.”

Codenamed “Yukon,” the upgrades to Siri will introduce support for Find My Friends and the App Store. Also included will be built-in machine translation that could enable language interpreting capabilities within Siri, without the need for a cellular or other network connection.

In April, Morgan Stanley analysts predicted that healthcare would emerge as a key market for Apple and could generate $15 billion in sales by 2021. It’s already happening with the rising adoption of the Apple Watch and its opportunity in the health space.


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