What Gender is My Keurig?

An article in the New York Review of Books got me thinking that we need to seriously think about AI.

Sure, there’s people who think about AI–and think seriously about it. But I mean non-experts. All of us should be thinking about AI because it might mean a total revolution of basic concepts.

I was thinking about this a while back and I briefly wondered the gender of my Keurig. Well, I figured, it’s Keurig-gender. (I also figured there were multiple Keurig-genders.) I left it at that.

Keurig-gender, for me, was not male or female as we know it. It was a specific type of gender of the species Keurig.

This might sound a bit crazy to you, but the day might not be far off when we do need to consider the gender of AIs–and it’s totally possible to have a “smart Keurig” in such a future.

It might be easy to think of AIs as having no gender or being genderless. After all, many conflate sex and gender and a Keurig or an Alexa have no sexual parts. But sex and gender are not the same. Whatever we decide gender is, it happens that most humans have one and if we are thinking about creating subhumans or humanoids, they will likely have one, too.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There are many things we have simply not explored regarding AIs. It’s time we do–before time is up.


Author: Jennifer Lawson

Philosopher. That is all.

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