Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

On the Female Gendering of Bots

Mandy Brown:

Notably, Amazon’s Alexa, x.ai’s Amy, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana have something else in common: they are all explicitly gendered as female. […] The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it ‘Amy.’

Google’s Assistant, announced today at I/O, is does not have a gendered name, but the voiceover is still decidedly female.