Updated on 5/11: We did it! Thanks to your overwhelming support in petitioning Apple, Siri was updated in less than 24 hours. Now asking Siri, “What is ALS?” brings up the following definition:
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and motor neuron disease (MND), is a specific disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles.”
“What is ALS?”
This ALS Awareness Month, we want everyone to know the answer to that question.
Modern technology makes it easier than ever for people get information about ALS. Unfortunately, people cannot learn about the disease through Apple’s popular digital assistant, Siri. The voice recognition program is an integrated part of all current Apple products and Siri reaches a huge number of people. For example, there are more than 80 million iPhone users in the U.S. alone.
If you ask Siri “What is ALS?” on your mobile device, you’ll get this answer:
Instead of answering the question, Siri responds with Wikipedia information about “.al,” the internet domain extension for websites in the country of Albania. Asking “What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?” doesn’t work much better, since Siri doesn’t recognize “amyotrophic” as a word.
Help Make a Change
Apple is continually working to improve Siri’s depth of knowledge and often updates its responses to certain topics. For example, Apple has updated answers to specific questions in the past to help raise awareness of domestic violence and even to promote films.
So, for ALS Awareness Month, we’re asking Apple to update Siri so that anyone who asks “What is ALS?” will get the response below:
“ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This usually leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis and there is still no cure.”
Besides making it easier for people to learn about ALS, persuading Apple to make the change will hopefully bring further awareness of this disease. News outlets tend to report whenever Siri’s responses are changed, and any such publicity would help spread the word about ALS and how we are fighting it on every front.
We need your help to make it happen. To get Apple’s attention, we’ve started an online petition asking the company to change Siri’s responses to ALS questions. The more people who sign the petition, the more we can make it clear to Apple that the change is worth making.
Do your part by:
1. Signing the petition (it’s quick and free), and
2. Encouraging other people to do the same! You can share the link to this blog post on your social media accounts and tag it with #ALSAware.
With your help, we can make a significant impact increasing ALS awareness!