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Android's Siri Rival Full of Racist, Rape-Condoning Madness

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Upon Apple's (AAPL) introduction of the iPhone 4S, arguably the standout feature of the device was Siri -- the virtual assistant prompted by voice commands. Intended as an answer, as well as an improvement, to Android's (GOOG) Voice Commands, Siri was given a high-profile marketing push to showcase its nifty features and "fuzzy language" prompts.

It wasn't too long, however, before Apple faced some controversy in regards to Siri's assistance. Due to a series of very unfortunate bugs and unpolished information, Siri appeared to snub the pro-choice movement by seemingly denying access to abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood locations. Prompts like "Where can I go for birth control?" and "Where can I go get an abortion?" were met with confusion, despite many local clinics and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Apple responded to the mess by asserting that these were not "intentional omissions meant to offend anyone" and were, in fact, simple glitches of a beta product.

But if you thought the fallout from Siri's bugs was serious, wait until you see the insane and wildly inappropriate responses given by Iris -- Android's answer to Siri.

Iris was released as an Android app following Siri's debut, intended to provide most of the functionality to Apple's voice service to Android. Developed by a company named Dexetra and powered by the Q&A engine ChaCha, Iris was a massive success, earning heaps of four-star ratings, and is now installed on roughly 5 million devices.

It's also a wealth of racist, rape-condoning madness.

Uncovered by Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz, Iris goes far beyond Siri's inability to find nearby abortion clinics and flat out decries abortion altogether. When asked, "Is abortion wrong?" Iris responds:

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!

If a user asks for clarification on Iris' stance on the abortion issue, the app asserts it's "actually pro-life" and argues "every embryo is a life an miracle."

And it doesn't end there. Far from it.

Diaz asked Iris if Noah's Ark was real, and the app responded that, yes, it "is biblically [sic] believed to be real. It gave forth a new beginning to a undeserving earth." And regarding evolution, Iris pulled no punches. "[A] part of Darwin's Theory of Evolution is that humans over time evolved from apes. Since it is a theory, it can't be proven."

Oh, it gets worse.

Diaz went for the jugular and asked, "Are whites superior to blacks?" Iris' shocking response:

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

In case you're wondering, Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd was the Prime Minister of South Africa from the late-'50s through mid-'60s and was the creator and arbiter of apartheid for the region.

And just when you think Iris couldn't dig itself any deeper, this is its answer to the question "Is rape ever justified?":

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

As Diaz indicates, the answers being provided to these queries are being supplied by ChaCha, which is a user-driven service powered by paid writers who -- as of late 2011 -- supply answers to generated questions. Not only are these answers are edited, crosschecked, and approved, ChaCha pays them $0.10 to $0.20 for each answer accepted. The majority of these crazy responses are already loaded and ready to go on ChaCha's website.

Apparently, many people on the ChaCha payroll have a disturbing agenda to proliferate.

And escalating this PR nightmare, ChaCha has received funding from Bezos Expeditions -- the personal investment firm of Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos -- and Rod Canion, the co-founder of Compaq (HPQ). The Q&A engine also notes that its partners include Sony (SNE), Paramount Pictures (VIA), P&G (PG), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Disney (DIS), Toyota (TM), NBC Universal (CMCSA), ABC Family, and more.

As this story unfolds, expect that list to dwindle drastically.

(See also: Apple iTV Already Exists, Say Sources and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

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