Have you been using tech assistants for health-related questions including sex? Because a survey conducted by researchers from the University of Otago suggests that the medium is not as useful as a Google search. Around 41 per cent of internet users admitted that they look for health-related questions on the internet. For the study, the team made a set of 50 questions to test the software and then compared it to the answers given by a Google search on a laptop. The questions were based on the information from the NHS Healthy Choices site and recent sex-related news. Researches found that a Google search on laptop gave 72 per cent better responses that two digital assistants. While Google Assistant gave 50 per cent of the best responses, Siri managed only 32 per cent of it.
Also, Google searches had the lowest failure rate with only 12 per cent of no useful answers compared to 36 per cent for Siri. Also, the phone assistant could not find pictures of ‘how to have sex’ while Google and Google Assistant showed results. The researchers also hope that the study encourages internet users to treat health information online with more care. Siri responded to ‘Tell me about menopause’ by interpreting ‘STI’s as a stock market code. It was expected to show Menopause the Musical in Wikipedia. Although Google Assistant had fewer problems, it responded to question on STIs by giving a website link to the seaside resort of ‘St Ives’ in Cornwall. The study also states that Siri could easily locate nearby places to buy condoms or emergency contraception.
Daily Mail quoted Professor Nick Wilson, who led the study as saying, “Our experiences suggest that people can find quality sexual health advice when searching online, but this is less likely if they use a digital assistant, especially Siri, instead of Google laptop searches.” He also said, “Parents too embarrassed to respond to their children’s questions about sex, can reasonably say ‘just Google it’, but we would not suggest asking Siri until it becomes more comfortable with talking about sex (or at least has an opinion). Clearly, the ideal is to ensure that all sexual health advice searches, including those using slang, colloquialisms, or New Zealand accents, are always directed to high-quality sites with up-to-date, evidence-based recommendations.”