iPhone’s Siri swears at 12-year-old boy?

Xavier Lur

Apple's voice assistant app Siri gave the parents of 12-year-old Briton Charlie Le Quesne a shock after it blurted out obscenities when the boy asked how many people there were in the world.

Charlie picked up a demo handset of the iPhone 4S at a Tesco store in the UK, and asked Siri: "How many people are there in the world?". The personal assistant app, which uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, said in response: "I'm not sure what you said there, Shut The F**k Up, You Ugly T***."

Charlie's horrified mum Kim told The Sun: "The phone was a demo version and was low enough on the shelf for Charlie to have a go with it. He asked it a simple question and we couldn't believe the filth it came out with.

"I thought I must be hearing things. So we asked again and the same four-letter stuff blared out."

It seems pranksters had tampered with the phone's settings, and added the foul-mouthed tirade as the name of the owner. Siri would read it out regardless of the question, as the system addresses the phone's user by name, using information inputted into its contact list.

The Sun reported that the supermarket chain had released a statement reading: "We have arranged for the handset in question to be sent for diagnostic testing and we will investigate this issue as a matter of priority with Apple."