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Designing a Feminist Alexa – An Exercise in Empathic Design

Chatbots and Personal Intelligent Assistants (PIAs), such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, are increasingly present in our daily lives.

This talk will look at the potential societal impact of anthropomorphising these new technologies. We will focus on their frequent personification as an obedient female and their inability to respond constructively to abusive language as a way to explore gendered AI.

We will bring together interested members of the general public to design a more inclusive bot by inviting attendees to submit drawings of how they envision Alexa’s physical embodiment via a drawing challenge. Attendees to this event will vote on the best new design! You can find all the details on how to enter the drawing challenge here. The outcomes of this activity will inform research funded by the UK Research and Innovation council.


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Additional Info

Professor Verena Rieser will be joined by Mark West, author of the UNESCO report I’d blush if I could, and Fiona Linton-Forrest, part of the design team working on the persona of the BBC’s new bot Beeb.