No Siri, John Travolta is not dead

Pulp Fiction

Business Insider appears to have found a weird blind spot in all-knowing AI’s Siri’s knowledge. Pick up your iPhone and ask it “how old is John Travolta?” You may want to be sat down before you do this, especially if you’re related to the Grease and Pulp Fiction star.

According to Siri – and, presumably soon, conspiracy theorists around the world – Travolta died in 2009 at the age of 54. This will come as some surprise to Karzan Kader, who is currently filming Trading Paint which stars the very much still alive actor. Indeed, the picture at the top of this piece was taken seven years after his alleged death.

No Siri, John Travolta is not dead

Business Insider speculates that the bug was likely caused by Siri misreading news concerning Travolta’s son Jeff who passed away on January 3 2009. Apple is aware of the issue and will be fixing the problem soon – though presumably, it has been a bug in the wild for some time. 

This certainly exposes a weakness in the way in which virtual assistants analyse text, although it should be noted that Google Assistant passed the Travolta test with ease:

No Siri, John Travolta is not dead

Though it’s hard to give too much credit to Google, given it was recently seen spreading right wing conspiracy theories that Barack Obama was planning a communist coup d’etat at the end of his second term.

“According to details exposed in Western Centre for Journalism’s exclusive video,” Google Home was spotted saying, “not only could Obama be in bed with the communist Chinese, but Obama may in fact be planning a communist coup d'etat at the end of his term in 2016.”

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