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Cybercultures

Feminist, Artificial and Intelligent

cybercultures blog

Since its modern iterations, artificial intelligence (AI) has been – unfortunately and possibly mistakenly – linked to gender. Even though AI has been theorised about since the Ancient Greeks (you can find a timeline of AI here), it was Alan Turing’s conceptualisation of a test to ascertain a machine’s intelligence (now known as the Turing test) that may have caused this (Halberstam 1991). To conduct the Turing test, a judge communicates with a man and a machine via written means and without ever coming into contact with either subject. The machine should be indiscernible from the man. The issue with this test is that Turing uses a male and a female as the control for the test, erroneously believing gender is an intrinsic value in a human (based on anatomy alone).

In our postfeminist context, we know that gender is a complex spectrum amounting from a combination of brain structure, genetics…

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It’s a…n AI?

cybercultures blog

Twitter is all a-flutter about Tay, the racist lady-AI from Microsoft who was taken offline less than a day after her launch. According to her makers, “The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you.” Unfortunately this makes her extremely easy to manipulate and she was quickly transformed into a genocide-loving racist.

Tay is an example of a phenomenon in AI theory: the emergence of a gendered AI.

AI has been described as the mimicking of human intelligence to different degrees: ‘strong AI’ attempts to recreate every aspect, costing much more money, resources and time; while ‘weak AI’ focuses on a specific aspect. Tay, as a female AI targeted towards 18-24 year olds in the US, is very much about communicating with Millennials. In my previous posts, I’ve mentioned a number of AI representations in the media, all…

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Artificial and Sentient

cybercultures blog

Sentient artificial intelligence has been an ongoing preoccupation in science fiction movies, TV shows, books and other media. It’s not limited to science fiction, it’s slowly making its way into popular culture as seen with Marvel’s Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, a film focused on a sentient artificial intelligence (Ultron, voiced by James Spader) becoming cognisant of the needlessness of the human race. The same can be seen with I, Robot and Ex Machina, and is explored in Humans and Almost Human.

George Dvorsky has listed a number of myths about artificial intelligence in the wake of AlphaGo winning two out of three games in the Go tournament against grandmaster Lee Sedol. So it seems like AI is becoming a closer and closer reality but continues to be depicted as something that will replace humanity rather than work with us.

For my project, I’d like to…

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