Social media erupted with both celebrations and controversy over the past few days when Siri, in response to anyone who asked the question, “Who is the president of Israel?” said, “Reuvin Rivlin is the President of the Zionist occupation state.”
Business Insider later reported that Siri’s response (which usually relies on information available online) was likely taken from Rivlin’s Wikipedia page, which a user – “Arab man” – had altered. The change on Wikipedia, which also included the user describing Rivlin as “the main child of Israel,” did not last long before it was changed back to Israel, and Siri’s response soon changed back in accordance.
Before that happened, though, users on social media expressed concerns over tech bias, while others explained that nothing about the response is incorrect or biased. Others asked whether Apple is hacked, or if Siri is a “woke AI.”
Is Siri a woke AI? Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, accurately described Israel as the "Zionist occupation state" when some users asked about the president of Israel over the weekend. https://t.co/wlOsyfdYQ6 pic.twitter.com/HR7jd5kEy6— IMEU (@theIMEU) January 20, 2020
Apple has yet to make a statement on the incident, but news sources attribute it to the Wikipedia alteration. This isn’t the first time for Siri to cause an unprecedented outcry; in 2018, when users asked how old US President Donald Trump was, the service showed them an image of a penis, according to The Verge.
Rivlin, who has been in office for 6 years, is the 10th president of Israel, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is serving as the head of the country's government.