The fight against Covid-19 has become as much a war against misinformation as it is against the virus itself. We have the tools to stop Covid-19’s spread and save countless lives: vaccines and masks. But we also need to provide people with accurate information to stop the spread of disinformation so that they’ll use those tools.
While there’s been a lot of attention on how social media needs to do more to police itself, little has been written about whether digital personal assistants like Cortana provide accurate information about how vaccines and masks can protect against the virus.
[ Related: Windows 10 quick tips: Get the most out of Cortana ]
I’ve just finished researching whether Cortana does that. The answer is dispiriting. Microsoft’s digital assistant doesn’t provide even the barebones basics about protecting against Covid-19. Want to know whether getting vaccinated will protect you? Cortana won’t give an answer. Will masks help? Don’t bother asking Cortana. Even more astonishing, if you want the truth about some of the outlandish lies about the Covid-19 vaccine — such as whether it will implant a microchip in you — don’t look to Cortana for help. Microsoft’s digital assistant simply refuses to answer the question.