March 14, 2017 2:04 pm
Updated: March 14, 2017 8:59 pm

Toronto eSports bar blames Apple’s Siri for repeated calls for ‘escorts’

WATCH ABOVE: The owner of an eSports bar on College Street has been getting calls from people wanting an escort service because Siri is confused. Tom Hayes reports.

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A Toronto eSports bar is not a good place to find prostitutes, despite what your iPhone might tell you.

Alvin Acyatan, co-owner of Meltdown Toronto at 686 College St., said he was initially confused after getting calls from people looking for escort services —  but soon realized there was more to the story.

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“They look for escorts,” he said. “The last one that I’ve got was he explicitly said ‘prostitutes’ and that’s kind of what tipped me off to start looking into this.”

READ MORE: Man whose truck fell on him says Apple’s Siri helped save his life

Acyatan said he felt indifferent to the calls at first, thinking people were confusing his bar’s phone number with another type of service, but he became suspicious when the calls became more frequent.

That’s when a caller told him that Siri — a software program on Apple iPhones that works as a virtual personal assistant and allows users to voice requests — may be involved.

“We think Siri is mistaking ‘escorts’ for ‘esports’ … because it sounds the same,” Acyatan said. ESports refers to a type of competitive video gaming.

“That might tip Siri off and she looks at the database and finds our name as the closest match to ‘escorts’ and that’s what’s causing this mix up to happen.”

READ MORE: Cortana, Siri, or Google Now: Who is the best digital assistant?

Acyatan reached out to Apple on Twitter for help on the issue, but he said he did not receive a response. The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Global News.

He also posted on Reddit about the experience, where users reported similar experiences with the application.

Acyatan said he’s not entirely sure how the issue will affect his business, but hopes there are no long-term negative effects.

 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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