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Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 12:06 pm PT (03:06 pm ET)

Apple tweaks Siri responses to help prevent suicides

Apple often touts how its products affect the lives of their users, and a recent update to Siri suggests that the company is committed to doing what it can to save those lives as well.

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When the iOS digital assistant Siri is presented with a user that indicates he or she is considering suicide, the program will offer to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Before this most recent addition, Siri would show the locations of centers but not offer to call them.

The change to Siri's recommendations will be a feature in both iOS 6 and iOS 7. On devices without a calling feature, such as the iPad and the iPod touch, Siri will list and read off the NSPL phone number, but will then search for nearby suicide prevention centers.

The change appears to be a server-side alteration to Apple's digital assistant. Previous alterations have made Siri less tolerant of long-winded questions and improved her ability to tell and take jokes.

Apple's forthcoming iOS 7 update will give Siri even more capabilities, including the ability to control settings, search Twitter and Wikipedia, and search Google or Bing. Siri will also gain additional voice options, giving users the ability to a male or female voice for the digital assistant.