Siri Learns Chinese

Siri Learns Chinese

Siri, the iPhone voice recognition assistant, has just learned Chinese. Siri can wake you up, give you directions, even write text messages for you. But she won’t do it all. If you ask her, in English, where she was manufactured, Siri will only say, “That’s classified” or “I’m not allowed to say.”

Siri isn’t keeping much of a secret: a spate of worker suicides at Foxconn plants, where parts for Apple and other companies are made, made Siri’s birthplace famous.

Siri can be less than forthcoming in Chinese, too:

I want to drive to Tiananmen Square, how do I get there?

Siri: Sorry, something went wrong. Could you please ask the question again?
抱歉,宝, 某处有错误。麻烦请你再试一次。

It appears what went wrong was that the user asked Siri a sensitive question.

There are other questions waiting for Siri to refuse to answer. And if she decides to respond, she may cause a maelstrom:

PretendingtobeinNY: After Siri learns to speak Chinese, inevitably someone will ask her, “Is Taiwan part of China? Does the Scarborough Shoal belong to China or the Philippines? How many people died in the Nanjing Massacre?” If the answers aren’t standard [with the Party line], people will post things on Tianya like “Siri distorts history—Apple, get out of China!,” which will ignite a campaign to boycott Apple. Meanwhile, the madness will mount on Weibo, eventually leading to a Global Times editorial titled “China Must Say No to Apple.”

假 装在纽约 : Siri会讲中文后,一定会有人问她:台湾是不是中国的一部分?黄岩岛是中国的还是菲律宾的?南京大屠杀死了多少人?如果回答不是标准答案,天涯上会出现 许多《Siri歪曲历史苹果滚出中国》之类的帖子,掀起抵制苹果的愤怒浪潮,同时微博疯狂转发,然后环球时报发表社论《中国应该对苹果说不》。

Translated by Josh Rudolph. Via SneezeBloid.


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