Conversing with Personal Digital Assistants: on Gender and Artificial Intelligence

Pedro Carvalho Ferreira da Costa



This paper aims to explore the relationship between gender and artificial intelligence, seeking to understand how and why chatbots and digital assistants appear to be mostly female. To this end, it begins by addressing artificial intelligence and the questions that emerge with its evolution and integration in our daily lives. It then approaches the concept of gender in light of a binary framework, focusing on femininity. These topics are then related, in order to shed some light on how chatbots and digital assistants tend to display feminine attributes. In an attempt to observe these aspects, an analysis of Alexa, Cortana and Siri is developed, focusing on their anthropomorphization, the tasks they perform and their interactions. Complementing this discussion, the project Conversations with ELIZA is presented as an exploration of femininity in AI, through the development of four chatbots integrated into a web-based platform, each performing specific tasks and simulating particular personalities, with the purpose of emphasizing feminine roles and stereotypes. In this manner, this study aims to understand and explore how gender relates to AI, why femininity seems to be often present in AI and which gender roles or stereotypes are reinforced in this process.


Artificial Intelligence; Chatbots; Anthropomorphization; Gender; Femininity; Stereotypes.

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