Apple's Siri virtual assistant is in many ways a breakthrough technology.
The voice-activated system has taken the concept to a new level in commercial devices, allowing users to not only dictate simple phone commands, but also run web searches and receive locational information.
Just don't ask it to identify any poisonous plants.
Siri is catching heat in the press after a major gaffe was spotted in a recent iPhone ad by a professor of botany. The ad, which ran in The Economist, featured a user asking Siri about poison oak, to which the iPhone displays an image of the plant in question.
The ad was spotted by Lena Struwe, a botany professor from Rutgers University. Struwe noticed something strange about the poison oak image Siri had displayed. Turns out it wasn't poison oak Siri displayed, but an image of poison ivy.
According to Newsday, the origin of the image used for the ad remains in question. Struwe said that the picture returned on her own iPhone is different than the one in the advertisement, and there's some doubt as to whether the picture is an actual Siri result or an enhanced image inserted into the photo by the advertising agency.
Either way, the incident is an embarrassment for Apple and will hardly inspire confidence in anyone who takes their phone hiking and comes across a strange berry bush.
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