Alan Winfield’s Web Log: Robots should not be gendered

Flickr/Caroline Davis2010

Flickr/Caroline Davis2010

Should robots be gendered? I have serious doubts about the morality of designing and building robots to resemble men or women, boys or girls. Let me explain why.

The first worry I have follows from one of the five principles of robotics, which states: robots should not be designed in a deceptive way to exploit vulnerable users; instead their machine nature should be transparent.

To design a gendered robot is a deception. Robots cannot have a gender in any meaningful sense. To impose a gender on a robot, either by design of its outward appearance, or programming some gender stereotypical behaviour, cannot be for reasons other than deception – to make humans believe that the robot has gender, or gender specific characteristics.

-Alan Winfield

Source: Alan Winfield’s Web Log: Robots should not be gendered

New Report Reveals Just How Badly Black Women-Led Startups Are Being Underfunded |Co.exist

Black women lead just .04% of the total number of women-led tech startups in the U.S., according to a newly released report by Digital Undivided’s #ProjectDiane—a research study evaluating 88 tech companies led by black women. Of that group, only 11 had raised $1 million or more. The remaining 77 raised an average of just $36,000, a gaping discrepancy compared to the average of $1.3 million raised for all startups—led by mostly white, male founders—who have historically received over 97% of all venture capital funding.

Source: New Report Reveals Just How Badly Black Women-Led Startups Are Being Underfunded | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

This is atrocious. We ought to be ashamed…if not surprised.

Let’s get to fixing this.

With this ‘mirage of a marketplace’, Uber is taking its customers for a ride | John Naughton

The crassness of neoliberalism lies in its insistence that markets represent the only way of making them. Hence the belief that one can make organisations such as the NHS or the BBC more “efficient” by introducing “internal markets” of the kind that John Birt tried in the BBC during his tenure as director general, with results that were sometimes beyond parody.In that sense, the evangelical neoliberal is like the mythical tradesman who only possesses a hammer and is therefore condemned to treating everything as if it were a nail.

-John Naughton

Source: With this ‘mirage of a marketplace’, Uber is taking its customers for a ride | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian

 

Techno-skeptics’ objection growing louder – The Washington Post

Techno-skeptics, or whatever you want to call them — “humanists” may be the best term — sense that human needs are getting lost in the tech frenzy, that the priorities have been turned upside down. They sense that there’s too much focus on making sure that new innovations will be good for the machines.

Source: Techno-skeptics’ objections growing louder

Given the rate of change in tech, and the general lack of collective oversight, it’s a good bet to be the topic of Book 2 by the WPC.

 

How Fearful Should We Be of the Rise of the Robots?

Flickr/Ariel Waldman

Flickr/Ariel Waldman

“We are rushing headlong into the robotics revolution without consideration for the many unforeseen problems lying around the corner,” Professor Sharkey said. “It is time now to step back and think hard about the future of the technology before it sneaks up and bites us when we are least expecting it.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/how-fearful-should-we-be-about-the-rise-of-the-robots-a6770336.html
How fearful should we be? Failing thoughtful legislation and a bit of apprehension from innovators, very.