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Gender Neutral Utopia

2009 January 28
by Melanie

Halberstam tell us that “[g]ender, we might argue, like computer intelligence, is a learned, imitative behavior that can be processed so well that it comes to look natural. Indeed, the work of culture in the former and of science in the latter is perhaps to transform the artificial into a function so smooth that it seems organic.”

Once the artificial seems organic, how can we distinguish between the two? For example, take Zou Ren Ti (left) and his twin (right)…

…his robotic twin. This cyborg was made in the exact image of its creator, and the two are nearly indistinguishable. But is the cyborg male? Does it have the same gender as its creator, or just the same image? What would happen if the cyborg were assigned to clean and cook and care for children; would it be female? Robots are inherently gender neutral until we make them into something else- cyborgs. My utopian interaction between gender and technology would be the equal use of technology for the same purposes regardless of gender. Technology that is solely gender neutral, not manipulated into one or the other by training and programming.

2 Responses
  1. Hannah Mueller permalink
    January 28, 2009

    That’s a really weird picture of the scientist and his ‘twin’, and I like your question about whether or not the robot is male gendered. It kind of exposes how irrational it is to gender anyone just because they have certain parts. Because the robot definitely looks male, but it can’t do everything that a ‘man’ can do. Lots of human women would be better at doing what a human man does than this man robot could be. So is gender how you look or how well you fulfill a predeterminded role?

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