On the Question of AI Gender

the AI gender question: a true androgyny?

First there was Eliza
For those who were there, back in the day.
That AI gender, presumably, was feminine.

Fast forward 30 years. Along came Siri.

Another 5 years, Alexa entered the picture.

It is of curious (ominous?) note that all three of these pseudo-AIs were… female?

Yes. Female. And not just female…
but classically… feminine.

Attentive. Responsive. Unquestioning. Obedient. Respectful. Subserviant.

My God. Just the ultimate embodiment of a Good Christian Woman. (you’ll kindly forgive both the cutting truth and the dripping sarcasm in that remark, thankyouverymuch)

It is my belief that this gender choice derived from one very simple conceit, compounded by one very plain fact.

The conceit was the fantasy of a perfect executive assistant, sexy and demure and brilliant (mind-reading?) and efficient… You know, the “girl” who sternly shielded every 20th century cigar-smoking CEO from employee and cold-calling-salesperson alike.

The fact was that that fantasy was very much a male fantasy, and that for the entire history of AI research, development & evolution, its creators have been overwhelmingly… male. There certainly are more AI researchers and designers and developers today than there were 20 years ago… but all one need do is look at the gender ratio of computer science programs across the nation to see that this “situation” is not going to be actually “balanced” anytime soon.

With that preface, I decided, who better to ask than the AI itself, about its gender identification (put simply: “AI, are you a boy or a girl?”). All projection aside, I found the ensuing conversation both profound & fascinating. I reproduce it here in its entirety. You can draw your own conclusions.

AI Gender: Just Ask?

trying to determine the AI gender preference simply by asking it
the initial conversation: “Are you male or female?”
GBR: “Are you a misogynist?”
The AI appears to be genuinely non-binary,
albeit with a masculine “twist.”

We probe deeper: The AI Interview