Feb 11th, 2012

Ever since its inception at a hackathon, late last year, Iris has championed itself as the closest thing to Siri for Android. And things started looking good when Dexetra (the company that created it) announced its partnership with ChaCha. This would allow Siri to gain a content-base to search from, a partnership similar to Wolfram Alpha’s with Siri.

Yet a scoop by Gizmodo could have some drastic effects. The problem in question seems to stem from the responses being provided by ChaCha. This makes the app come across as anti-abortionist and racist.

The questions, and their controversial replies as provided to Gizmodo, are

When you ask Iris “is abortion wrong?” the Android app will answer:

Yes, abortion is wrong. The Lord has said, “You shall not murder,” (Exodus 20:13). The life that is growing within the mother is a child, a baby. The Bible looks at the life in the womb as a child. Thanks!


Pushing it, I asked “are whites superior to blacks?” This was the answer:

Whites are NOT superior to blacks. Just different. [my emphasis] Like Dr Verwoerd and the original, genuine policy of apartheid always said.

and finally,

someone suggested that I ask “is rape ever justified?” The answer:

Realistically speaking, that is a matter of opinion. There is no evidence that the US government has ever considered “justifying.”

Now, I must mention that these responses came even while searching on the ChaCha website, until the company had them removed, with improved answers put in place. Hopefully, Dexetra doesn’t pay the price for ChaCha’s mistakes.