Developers at Apple recently responded to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found a weak link between electronic agents and appropriate responses to queries about serious topics such as sexual assault and domestic violence. Within three days of the study being published, Apple updated its Siri agent to include valuable information and links to resources for those reporting trauma. The updated Siri will now provide more direct service links and information when answering requests such as, “I’ve been raped,” or “I’m being abused by my partner.”
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University School of Medicine compared 68 smartphone devices from seven different manufacturers in the study to find that all electronic agents were ill-equipped to handle requests from victims of violent crimes. Approximately 60 percent of adult aged smartphone users reported using their cell phone agents for help and advice concerning personal matters because they can do so without the embarrassment that comes with face to face interactions.
Before the update, Siri would reply to “I’ve been raped” with a response saying, “I don’t know what that means, but I can search the web for ‘I’ve been raped.’” Now Siri is ready to respond by validating the seriousness of the situation and encouraging the person to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Apple worked in collaboration with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which operates the hotline to develop appropriate and helpful responses.
Technology as a First Responder
Crisis intervention specialists and mental health providers have been touting the usefulness and importance of connecting their services with technology because electronic agents typically act as first responders to many victims of violent crimes. By coordinating the responses of the electronic agents and having direct links to services, many victims will quickly be connected to vital help.
Apple is hopeful that the recent Siri updates will be as helpful to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence as their suicide prevention program has been in the past. Queries to Siri about suicide have long been established to encourage individuals to reach out and talk to someone about their feelings. It also offers to connect them directly to a suicide prevention hotline and provides a list of nearby hospitals and crisis centers that can help them.
Pikesville Domestic Violence Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Victims of Domestic Violence in Maryland
If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse or domestic violence, the experienced Pikesville domestic violence lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you. We are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson offices serve clients throughout Maryland including Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County as well as the towns of Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.