Don’t Ask Siri About Tiananmen Square

Apple has unveiled Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking versions of iPhone voice-controlled personality Siri, known for her subservient manner and witicisms. But Siri isn’t willing to crack a joke about everything. It may or may not be a glitch, but she really does not want to discuss Tiananmen Square with you, so stick to asking questions about the weather and where to buy things. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Some users have tested her devotion to free speech by asking her questions about the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square crackdown—a topic she seems loathe to broach. One screenshot posted to Twitter shows Siri responding to the question “Do you know about the Tiananmen incident?” with the answer: “I couldn’t find any appointments related to ‘Do you know about Tiananmen.’” A second try with the question rephrased – “What happened on June 4, 1989?”—produced an even stranger response: “I’m sorry, the person you are looking for is not in your address book.”

A[nother] screenshot posted suggested Siri wasn’t even able to provide directions to Tiananmen Square. Apple declined to comment on Siri’s Chinese functionality.

18 Comments on "Don’t Ask Siri About Tiananmen Square"

  1. Coyne Tibbets | Jun 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    Someone should ask for directions to the geo coordinates for Tiananmen, just to see what happens.

  2. China has ensured that no one will ever forget Tiananmen Square by so adamantly refusing to admit anything ever happened.

    • very true
      by making the incident at Kent State a matter of public record
      and having a hit song about the Kent State massacre
      the whole mess just disappeared from the information landscape

      which is why they call that place
      The Land of the Free

      • I’m not sure why you always reply in prose, but yes. You are correct.

        • actually
          the form would be more poetic than prosaic
          but I have discovered that the new generation is
          barely literate and unable to follow complex thoughts
          expressed prosaically
          but if I break them down into small bit sized chunks
          some comprehension of the complex becomes possible

          • Calypso_1 | Jun 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

            It also falls under the ‘rhyme-as-reason effect’ cognitive bias in which a statesments underlying truth is percieved to be enhanced by an heuristic processing of information content via aesthetic presentation.
            (and in saying so, I am not critiquing your content, merely pointing out an aspect of the mechanism.)

  3. chi-com scum

  4. she also won’t say cunt in English
    and has already been programed not to say anything “dirty” in English

    censorship is not the exclusive domain of the Chinese gov
    Apple, Google and the also regularly censor content

    I wonder what happens when you ask about Kent State?

    • MoralDrift | Jun 23, 2012 at 4:24 am |

      True but China is ham fisted and rather lame about its censorship. Also dirty words are slightly different than covering up such an important event. The funny thing is that so many western observers believe it was largely about democracy when many accounts actually point to the main theme being social justice during the shift to capitalism.

      You can say anything you want in China, just dont actually endanger the ability of the ruling class to profit off of the people…then there is a problem. Oh excuse me I meant dont disrupt harmony….as in the status quo

      I’m no fan of the US either but the two are more similar then is commonly let on

      • > I’m no fan of the US either but the two are more similar then is commonly let on.

        I couldn’t agree more.

        The US is much more of police state and
        attempts to appear more menacing to its citizens;
        The Chinese government is afraid of its citizenry and therefore more placating.
        The US government is not.

        However, when it comes to “freedom of speech”
        they have no such tradition in their 5000 year history
        and they don’t pretend otherwise. .

        • MoralDrift | Jun 23, 2012 at 4:47 am |

          funny right? you always imagine China to be the uber repressive police state, and yet you don’t see people acting strange around cops here…

          You just assume living in the US that everyone is afraid of cops

          • what do you compare freedom to?
            if I hadn’t lived in China
            I wouldn’t have know what a friggin’ police state the US is

            yeah, the whole cop-people dynamic in China
            is the exact opposite of the US
            not only aren’t the people afraid of them
            they actually think of them as public servants
            imagine that!

          • Cops in China are not that bad it is the communist party “citizens brigade” you have to worry about.  Let me guess if the citizens do it it is not oppression it’s “justice”?  ….right

          • in my experience
            cop/person interaction is far greater in the US
            China has 4 times less cops per capita
            most Chinese cops are weaponless
            hardly any cops walks a beat
            no cop cars cruising the hood or highways

            not saying its perfect
            just a lot less intense than the US is now

          • I have visited China, and have lived in Asia for nearly two decades. Currently I am in a country without freedom of speech…so I will not mention it’s name here.

            Without freedom of speech, I have found I am wary of expressing my opinions constantly 24/7/365. It is a simple and efficient way to keep me always afraid of standing up for myself, as it does the people around me. Though I speak my mind 99% of the time, I have developed a powerful self filtering mechanism, as have the people around me, and that keeps the ruling elite, and very corrupt in power.

            I very much hope that China soon gets it’s freedom of speech, and that I can get my own back also very soon.

        • Monkey See Monkey Do | Jun 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

          Whats that old Confucius saying. oh yeh, ‘Whether your getting fucked from the front or fucked from behind, your still getting fucked.’

  5. DeepCough | Jun 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm |

    “Why don’t you ask the kids at Tiananmen square?

    Was Fashion the reason why they were there?”

    “They disguise it, Hypnotize it

    Television made you buy it.”

    “Hypnotize”–System of a Down

  6. charigun | Dec 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    lmao you ask her the same question about any incident and she’ll either go “I can’t answer that” or “should I search the web for you”. Only things programmed in her system are basic day-to-day questions properly.

Comments are closed.