From Siri to sexbots: Female AI reinforces a toxic desire for passive, agreeable and easily dominated women

From telephone operators to the ScarJo robot, tech's female voice has little to do with empowerment [UPDATED]

By Jennifer Seaman Cook
Published April 8, 2016 11:00PM (EDT)
Alicia Vikander in "Ex Machina," Scarlett Johansson Robot   (Universal Pictures)
Alicia Vikander in "Ex Machina," Scarlett Johansson Robot (Universal Pictures)

This story has been corrected since it was originally published.

A recent article titled “Why is AI Female?” made the connection that gendered labor, in service professions in particular, is fueling our expectations for gendered AI assistants and service robots. Furthermore, the author argues, this “feminizing — and sexualizing — of machines” signals a future with a disproportionate use of feminized VR and robots for a male-dominated sex industry. Monica Nickelsburg writes:

“Sex with robots is a big leap from asking Siri to set an alarm, but the fact that we’ve largely equated artificial intelligence with female personalities is worth examining. There are, after all, few sexualized male rob...

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Jennifer Seaman Cook

Jennifer Seaman Cook is a cultural history, visual culture, media and technology scholar in American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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