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Playlist "35C3: Refreshing Memories"

Are machines feminine?


Why do navigation systems have feminine voices? We know Tay, Eliza, Siri not only as female names, but also as chatbots and software, which directly interact with humans. Although computer programs are per se genderless, gender seems not to be cancelled out in human-machine interaction, but why?

This talk aims to examine how we map gender on computers and machines. This includes looking at software in machine-human interaction, as well as digging deeper into a cultural history of imagining and building human-like machines.
To look at this, two view points are taken;
In the examples of the virtual assistants; What do the responses these devices give in conversation reveal about their design? What are the expectations and projections users map onto a machine when they interact with it?
This connects to the cultural imagining of machines as subjects, which has been pondered in literature and film before and parallel to technical research. From 18th century clockwork powered figures, that wrote and played music, to 19th century literature, in which young men fall in love with piano playing automata to A.I. characters in movie series and cinema.
This talk tries to explore the relations between design and perception of machines and the dynamics in between.