Women Reclaiming AI

Design a collaborative AI Voice Assistant created by women for women

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Please note: participation in this workshop is aimed at people who do not primarily identify as male.

When

13th April 2019

What time

2:00PM – 4:00PM

Location

Broadway,

14-18 Broad Street,

Nottingham,

NG1 3AL

Cost

Pay what you can – suggested donation £5-10

Get Tickets

Please note: participation in this workshop is aimed at people who do not primarily identify as male.

Women Reclaiming AI is a collaborative AI Voice Assistant created by women for women.

Together we will create an AI assistant that reflects female identity, using a corpus of inspirational speech from women the collective admire.

AI voice assistants like Ok Google, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Bixby use female names, identities, voices (as a response to pressure an increasing number now have an option to change the gender of the voice to male). Studies revealed that both men and women respond more favourably to female speech and want their AI assistant to be ‘obedient and assisting.’ Culturally we are used to hearing female voices in subordinate/service roles and therefore on the whole we are more comfortable with a female voiced AI assistant.

This workshop sets out to empower women with the tools and the community to reclaim these technologies, collectively prototyping a more desirable representation of women in AI.

Requirements

Please bring quotes from women who inspire you, whether authors, celebrities, relatives or friends etc.

No previous experience of coding is required but participants are asked to bring a laptop if they have access to one. Near Now/Broadway can provide a small number of laptops for use by participants who are unable to bring their own.

Please note: participation in this workshop is aimed at people who do not primarily identify as male.

Cost

Pay What You Can (suggested donation £5-10).

  • Booking online via Eventbrite requires a minimum donation of £1 (plus fees)
  • Booking via Broadway box office in-person or over the phone on 0115 952 6611 – no minimum donation or fees

What is Women Reclaiming AI?

womenreclaimingai.com

This project is co-founded and led by Coral Manton and Birgitte Aga.

Women Reclaiming AI is a collaborative feminist ‘voice assistant’ developed by a growing community of self-identifying women. This project is in response to lack of gender diversity in the development of AI systems.

AI voice assistants like Ok Google, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Bixby use female names, identities, voices (as a response to pressure an increasing number now have an option to change the gender of the voice to male – although default to women). Studies revealed that both men and women respond more favourably to female speech and want their AI assistant to be ‘obedient and assisting.’ Culturally we are used to hearing female voices in subordinate/service roles and therefore on the whole we are more comfortable with a female voiced AI assistant. We do not want voice assistants to say ‘No’ to us – this is particularly problematic when research indicates virtual assistants find themselves fending off endless sexual solicitations and abuse from users. Some female AIs are programmed to deflect the comments, others respond with sassy, flirtatious comebacks, and some seemingly capitulate if users are persistent enough.

The aim is to develop an AI voice assistant programmed through collaborative workshops with self-identifying women. Together we are creating an AI assistant that reflects female identity, using our own words and inspirational speech from women we admire. We are building an important feminist ‘corpus’ or data set on which positive feminist machine learning research can be developed. Through workshops we are exploring possibilities for female led tech workspaces reflecting collaborative and sharing working practices reminiscent of creative female spaces such as quilting circles. The project will look for creative responses by women exploring gender identity in the future of AI.