Should Robots Have Genders?

from the it-appears-they-do dept

More human-like robots seem to be appearing all the time, and apparently it's now time to get down to the nitty gritty detail questions like whether or not robots should have a gender? Many of the new robots do have a gender that's assigned by their creators, while others end up with a de facto gender based on whoever is using it and how they feel about it. That last part (how people feel about it) is why some believe robots need to have a gender. In making the robots seem more human, it seems only natural to give them a gender that makes it even easier for humans to relate to the robot without feeling uncomfortable. Of course, that suggests that we can only relate to one another based on our gender, which doesn't seem quite right.
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  • identicon
    Brian Shock, 5 May 2004 @ 3:26pm

    Genders for Robots

    I think it's important to recognize that as human beings we retain the standard primate neural heritage. In most primates, instinctive behavior upon encountering another primate appears to be evaluating the other creature for gender, in order to treat it as a potential competitor or potential mate.
    That said, I would like to acknowledge immediately that healthy adult humans are not obligated to follow their instincts, and that much of what is good about human civilization involves sublimating these instincts. Until we train ourselves to deal with genderless humanoid robots, we will probably feel uncomfortable around them.
    Regarding human reaction to humanoid robots, I would be far more concerned about the "Uncanny Valley" hypothesis, for which gender is probably just a small subset.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 5 May 2004 @ 5:16pm

    Leather, boots, and whips

    When will we have the latest sex fetish from California, humans bowing to leather-clad gender neutral computers whipping us lowly humans into shape?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    xman, 6 May 2004 @ 12:50am

    more genders

    Why not introduce some new genders for robots why do they have to be the same as us? Sounds much more interesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rob Henderson, 6 May 2004 @ 6:46am

    Up on the soapbox...

    Americans as a society have a real problem with sex. Not just the act, the very existence of the word. Until about 15 years ago, any English teach would tell you that "gender" is a property of words. Some words, particularly in other languages, have masculine or feminine characteristics, referred to as their gender. Biological organisms have sex, either male or female.
    Nouns have gender, people have sex! (Or at least we did until the politically correct blandification of our public speech.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AMetamorphosis, 6 May 2004 @ 8:39am

      Gender neutrality


      I personally just don't see or feel the need to assign gender to inanimate objects or machines. I suppose some people would feel more comfortable interacting with what they perceive as a specific gender, but it isn't real.

      I've named my Miata " Emmie ", but I don't think of this machine as being of the female gender. Men have always named boats, cars, etc. with female names and refer to them as " she " so perhaps gender specific androids or robots will become the norm.

      Interesting topic Mike.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 6 May 2004 @ 8:50am

      Re: Up on the soapbox...

      Er... well considering that robots are not biological organisms, isn't gender appropriate? :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2004 @ 8:57am

        How bad it could be. Re: Up on the soapbox...

        Oh, great. Let me guess, the "girl robot" wears pink and says stuff like "Math is hard!". And the male robot blurts out "I'll be back!" everytime he leaves a room.

        Assigning gender to robots will almost assuredly reinforce negative gender stereotypes. How 'bout we treat people as people, not by their sex?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tachi, 23 Jun 2009 @ 4:02am

    Robots..

    Robots have no gender, deal with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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