Abstract (short paper)
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, digital assistants, anthropomorphization, gender, femininity
This paper seeks to understand current trends of development of digital assistants and their stance towards gender, exploring the questions that emerge when the relationship between gender and AI is subject to inspection. It begins by addressing AI and its integration in our daily life, namely through the form of digital assistants. It then examines trends of development of current digital assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri, considering the features and functions that are being prioritized in AI evolution. This approach is complemented by an analysis that reveals how these assistants tend to be feminized through their anthropomorphization, the tasks they perform and their behavioural traits. Furthering this discussion, we focus on the main questions, justifications and concerns raised by researchers and academics when examining the feminization of AI, while also taking into account common discussions around this phenomenon in the context of online media coverage. In this manner, this study seeks to promote discussion and incite reflection on how current developments of this technology reveal a stance towards gender, questioning whether AI tends to reinforce traditional and normative conceptions of gender and femininity.
- Luísa Ribas, Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas-Artes (CIEBA), Faculdade de Belas-Artes, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
- Pedro Costa (Lisboa, 1995) is a graphic designer based in Lisbon, Portugal, currently enrolled in a PhD in Fine-Arts and working as a freelancer and as an intern at MAAT and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He holds a Master in Communication Design and New Media (2019) and a degree in Audiovisuals and Multimedia (2016). He is currently a member of CIEBA, Center for Research and Studies in Fine Arts (Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas-Artes (CIEBA), Faculdade de Belas-Artes, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal) and his research focuses on how gender relates to AI and, particularly, why femininity seems to be often present in current AIs which take the form of digital assistants.