Siri may be a friendly (if slightly dim) neighborhood smart assistant, but not everything about Apple’s A.I. voice is entirely G-rated.
Over the weekend, Reddit went Siri mad after one user noted that it was possible to get Siri to spout our the word “mother*@$^%r” in response to a seemingly innocuous question. Check below for the video evidence.
Siri goes Samuel L. Jackson
Writing on Reddit’s Apple subreddit, user “thatwasabaddecision” pointed out that Siri went all Samuel L. Jackson (NSFW link) after being asked to define the word “mother.” After reading out a relatively ordinary definition, Siri then offered users the chance to hear an additional description.
If they answer in the affirmative, Siri then described how “mother” could also be a noun. “It means, short for ‘mother*@$^%r,'” she continued.
This definition could be found in a variety of different Siri voices. Sadly (although perhaps understandably), it seems that Apple may have sprung into action to fix it. When I asked Siri to define “mother” I got the following:
“As a noun, it means: A female parent; a woman, in relation to her child or children, or a female animal in relation to its offspring. As a verb, it means: to bring up (a child), with care and affection.”
It’s not clear whether this was a case of an Apple employee coding in the line as a joke, or — as perhaps seems more likely — simply an error arising from whichever dictionary Siri was using to draw its definitions from.
This isn’t the first time that Siri has voiced controversial opinions, however. For years, Siri would answer queries concerning abortion clinics by pointing users users toward adoption centers instead. The New York Times reported the problem in November 2011, a month after Siri’s debut on the iPhone 4s. However, it took until 2016 for this to be fixed within iOS.
Provided that Apple actually has already modified the “mother*@$^%r” Easter egg, and my failure to replicate it isn’t a localization issue or similar, that’s fast work from Cupertino!