Tag Archives: gender

Assistants Have Feminine Names?

by Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic

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This chatbot is everything wrong with creepy dudes in the dating scene

by Alicia Marie Tan, Mashable

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Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site

by Annalee Newitz, Gizmodo

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I created the Caitlyn Jenner bot @she_not_he. This is what I learned.

by Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post

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This Twitter Bot Is Battling Caitlyn Jenner Transphobia in a Genius Way

by Jack Smith IV, Tech.mic

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The internet is so damn unpleasant. Do we need fewer humans and more bots?

Maybe this ease of interaction explains why people keep hitting on bots. In her 1995 book Life on the Screen, the sociologist Sherry Turkle describes a player in an online game making advances to a “woman” named Julia, actually a bot:

Barry says, ‘Hello, how are you?’

Julia says, ‘Hello, Barry.’

Barry says, ‘Are you a virgin?’

Julia says, ‘As far as you are concerned, Barry, I always will be.’

Their continued interaction makes it clear that, whether or not Barry thinks Julia is real, he definitely thinks he’s getting some cybersex. This, despite Julia asking “have I convinced you that I’m a computer yet?” As Turkle remarks, “Frankly, it’s not entirely clear to me whether Julia passed a Turing test here or Barry failed one.”

Two decades later, men on the internet are still treating female-named bots like women, and bot designers are responding accordingly: Apple’s Siri comes pre-loaded with gently snarky responses to things like “I love you”, “will you marry me”, and “what are you wearing?” Perhaps not coincidentally, some men on the internet are also treating women like bots. With the exception of my friends and colleagues, many men who try to talk to me online seem like they would be a lot happier if I automatically responded with a series of properly deferential stock phrases. And I’d be a lot happier if they’d talk to a pile of code instead. (Jess Zimmerman, the guardian)

robot internet

(prettytypewriters, Flickr)

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