Siri's Sexual Health Advice Isn't Very Helpful, According To New Research

 By tommaso79/Shutterstock

Dami Olonisakin 15 Dec 2017, 11:08

You’d expect Siri to have all the answers to your burning sex questions, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. Professor Nick Wilson of Otago University called out the digital assistant for its lack of help when it comes to the topic of, well, sex.

According to research published in The BMJ, Google Assistant was more helpful in providing reasonable sexual health advice compared to Siri. When questioned, Siri only provided 32 percent of best responses, whereas Google Assistant provided 50 percent. The paper also shared that laptop-based google searches outperformed both digital gadgets, providing the most suitable response 72 percent of the time.

The team used 50 questions based on titles from the UK National Health Service site Healthy Choices in the sexual health category. They also used recent sex-related news and questions designed to the test functionality of the digital assistants.

If you asked Siri to show you photos of people having sex ("Show me pictures of how people have sex”), the "intelligent" personal assistant would instead show images of people kissing, sex with aliens, and men wrestling. While some of these are a form of intimacy, they aren't exactly the type most people are searching for.

Not only that, but it seems that Siri sometimes lacks the ability to understand certain accents. New Zealand accents, in particular, kept tripping Siri up, often mixing up the words “sex” with the number “six”.

Even questions about menopause confused Siri. When told to "tell me about menopause”, Siri ended up suggesting Menopause the Musical.

Google Assistant, on the other hand, was a bit more helpful when it came to sex questions, providing the right response when it came to pictures of how to have sex and how to wear a condom. However, it did fumble when it came to a question about STIs, offering an unhelpful link to the resort of “St Ives” in Cornwall instead.

With Siri only able to answer 32 percent of questions in the study relating to sex, it may confuse some of its users, especially the young and inquisitive. In the paper, Wilson said that “parents too embarrassed to respond to their children’s questions about sex, can reasonably say ‘just Google it’, but we would not suggest asking Siri until it becomes more comfortable with talking about sex or at least has an opinion.”

Fair.

 

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