Sorry, Alexa Is Not a Feminist

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  • Ian Bogost Ian Bogost

Ian Bogost, professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Institute of Technology wrote The Atlantic, January 24, article “Sorry, Alexa is Not a Feminist.” The School of Literature, Media, and Communication is part of the Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.


If you ask Alexa, the voice-assistant software in Amazon Echo devices, if it’s a feminist, it will respond in the affirmative. “I am a feminist. As is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society,” it continues. At Quartz, Leah Fessler recently noted that it’s a vast improvement over just a year ago, when Alexa would take abuse like “you’re a bitch” or “you’re a slut” in stride. “Well, thanks for the feedback,” the robot used to say. Now, it disengages instead, saying something like, “I’m not going to respond to that.” As waves of sexual-harassment allegations crash against the shores of work culture, now is a good time to support women—even robots with female personas like Alexa. But let’s not give Amazon too much credit. The company gave Alexa a woman’s voice and name in the first place, and then set it up for ire and abuse by giving Alexa the impossible task of responding accurately to an infinity of requests and commands. Women don’t win here—only Amazon does, by reaping praise for having partly solved a problem that it first created… Written by Ian Bogost, a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is the Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in media studies and a professor of interactive computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For the full article, visit The Atlantic website.

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Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Institute and Campus
Alexa, VOICE, assistant, Amazon, Echo
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  • Created On: Jan 29, 2018 - 11:49am
  • Last Updated: Jan 31, 2018 - 10:48am