Siri Screws Up Identifying Poisonous Plants In New Apple Ad

siri poison oak ad iphoneSiri misidentifies poison oak

While Siri might get you into Hollywood A-list parties thrown by Martin Scorsese or John Malkovich, she might not be the most reliable camping buddy.Apple’s new ad for the iPhone 4s, which took up the glossy back page of the July 7-13 issue of The Economist, shows a hiker asking Siri, “What does poison oak look like?” Know-it-all that she is, Siri pulls up a picture of ominous looking vegetation with the retort “This might answer your question.”

Except it doesn’t…because that’s a picture of poison ivy and not poison oak. Silly robot.

Botanist and director of the Chrysler Herarium at Rutgers University, Lena Struwe, noticed the misidentification when she was flipping through her Economist on the flight to a botany conference. (Of course).

“I saw the ad,” Struwe told AP, “and I said, ‘This doesn’t look right.’ I sent it to the botanist community, which led to a discussion. And it turns out it’s poison ivy, not poison oak.”

Although the photo comes from a Wikipedia article, showing that Siri isn’t sadistically tricking hikers into frolicking in poison oak, this is still a pretty huge oversight for a major ad campaign.

Even weirder, this isn’t even the picture Siri shows when you ask what ask what poison oak looks like. Here’s what Siri pulled up when we asked the iPhone about the plant:

siri poison oak iphone

Weird. (And, in this case, accurate).

Apple works with TBWA/Chiat/Day and Media Arts Labs on their ads.

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