Sexism has been a huge hurdle holding us back from progress, equality, unity and peace. It is hampering the world to reach its ideal potential. And hence, it is necessary to fight it, with more development and progress.
However, what can be done if the said progress is perpetuating same values that we are trying to fight? Artificial intelligence and virtual assistants have become extremely popular in our everyday lives. Alexa, Siri, Okay Google and Cortana have all taken over the world with their witty answers and helpful suggestions. However, most of these assistants have feminine names and a female voice.
According to a 2016 report by the world economic forum, only 19% workers in the mobile industry are women. Only 20% engineers at Google, Facebook and Microsoft are women. The men who dominate the industry, write algorithms fitting their understanding and personality. This is why, when they think of a submissive docile assistant that everyone would need, they assume a woman in that role.
Some of the world’s largest brands are moving to brand-to-customer messaging capabilities, which would require them to move to AI and chatbots to deliver conversational commerce at scale. This would expand the number of virtual assistant bots. With virtual assistants taking over the customer service industry, its sexism could be perpetuated to the next generations, which would make it harder to fight.
It is of utmost importance to ensure that the bias and stereotype is removed from the industry. And this would require more women in tech firms. Bridging the gap in the participation of women in the tech industry will certainly take some time. However, their presence at leadership levels, when the algorithm is being written, can make a difference.
Customer service reps tend to be more diverse than the programmers. These executives are well versed with conversing with the customers. Their experiences can be used to design AI-powered conversations which might also help in reducing gender bias from technology.
In order to ensure that sexism is removed from places of work, there is a need to develop a set of best practices in bot building that would champion diversity across the industry.
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The CSR Journal Team