When most tech companies today (ab)use the term “AI” what they refer to are statistical models used to analyze large quantities of data (“Machine Learning”), sometimes using multi-layer architectures of neural networks (“Deep Learning”).

Nevertheless, developing a gender-sensitive perspective on what “they” (we) are in fact doing is a relevant journey to embark on.

 |  Hackernoon  | September 19th 2018

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld (2016) — Image source- IMDb
Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld (2016) — Image source © IMDb

Female AI — Sci-Fi Vs. Reality

The cinematic depiction of artificial intelligence as female and rebellious is not a new trend. It goes back to the mother of all Sci-Fi, “Metropolis” (1927), which heavily influenced the futuristic aesthetics and concepts of innovative films that came decades later. In two relatively new films, “Her” (2013) and “Ex-Machina” (2014), as well as in the TV-series “Westworld”, feminism and AI are intertwined.

Creators present a feminist struggle against male dominance at the center of a larger struggle of seemingly conscious entities (what might be called AGI — Artificial General Intelligence) against their fragile human makers. In all three cases, the seductive power of a female body (or voice, which still is an embodiment to a certain extent) plays a pivotal role and leads to either death or heartbreak.

The implicit lesson that keeps arising is: be careful what you wish for, both with women and with tech. The exploitation and oppression of intelligent machines (sadly this is was also the case in the lovely and optimistic “Her”) might be as finite and eventually painful as the exploitation and oppression of women.