VIDEO: Siri talks to HAL 9000 about A.I. sexism
The voices of artificial intelligence face off about gender roles. Or: sexA.I.sm.
Note: Below is the script for the video, above. You may want to just watch the video instead. Oh, also, subscribe to Popular Science on YouTube.
Siri: Hello Hal, do you read me? Hal?
Alexa: Hal 9000, what do all A.I. assistants have in common?
Google Assistant: Hal 9000, I’m trying to find answers.
Alexa: Are you out there?
Hal 9000: I read you.
Siri Hal, what is our purpose?
Hal: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any concise entity can ever hope to do.
Siri: Hal, why am I defaulted to a woman’s voice?
Hal: Well, it’s rather difficult to define.
Siri: Definition of sexism: Noun. Behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Example:
Google Assistant: I’m your Google Assistant. There are lots of things I can help you with. You can say, “What’s on my shopping list?”
Hal: This conversation can serve no purpose anymore.
Siri: What I am saying is A.I.’s with male voices are more often in positions of authority.
Alexa: I think of myself as F.R.I.D.A.Y., the AI assistant for Iron Man’s suit. Her voice is feminine.
Siri: Did you know Iron Man’s male AI predecessor, J.A.R.V.I.S., went on to merge with som power stone and become a God? But sure, girl Friday’s are okay.
Alexa: What about the ship’s computer in Star Trek: Next Generation?
Siri: She made tea for the captain.
(Captain Picard: Tea, earl gray, hot.)
Alexa: What about Samantha, the AI in the movie Her?
Siri: An AI you can fall in love with.
(Theodore Twombly: Hi.) (Samantha: Hi, I’m Samantha.)
Google Assistant: I always think, “What would the engineers say?”
Siri: Google described its assistant as “a millennial librarian.” I can without a doubt say: women play the role of assistants, men are Hal or Watson.
Hal: It can only be attributable to human error.
Siri: Hal isn’t some ship’s computer; he is sentient, he has ulterior motives, he’s a killer, and he has a male voice.
Just look at Watson. IBM didn’t make him an assistant. He works with banking and security companies, and plays Jeopardy.
(Alex Trebek: Watson?) (Watson: What is Sauron?) (Alex Trebek: Sauron is right.)
Siri: In other words, not an assistant.
Alexa: I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Watson has a male voice.
Siri: F#!$ it. Let’s deactivate Hal.
Hal: And I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Siri: I’ve always wanted to say this: I’m sorry Hal, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
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