1. Scared_to_bleat
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    Scared_to_bleat New Member

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    A.I gender?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Scared_to_bleat, Nov 22, 2012.

    This is something that has only recently begun to puzzle me as I have an AI in my current project, I've noticed various AI being referred to by gender in certain media E.g. Halo series, Red Dwarf and mass effect. Could someone pleas explain to me how one would decide when it's appropriate to call an AI by gender. I get that if they have their own body you could refer to them as male or female, but since they likely wouldn't have reproductive organs would it be correct to refer to them by gender. For a clearer example, In the Mass effect series the ship "Normandy" has an AI, in it's first series appearance it has nothing to indicate it would be a woman except for it's voice and it's feminine name "E.D.I". Most members of the crew refer to "E.D.I" as a she. I always thought that you could not refer to an AI by gender unless it was completely self aware and chose a permanent gender for itself, is it just a matter of personal preference?

    Thank you in advance for your replies, please include your own views on the topic too as it adds to the discussion on a whole :D.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    People use gender to refer to all sorts of fictional characters and anthropomorphized things. Vehicles - ships, airplanes, cars - are "she". Any toy with a face - dolls, stuffed animals, Thomas the Tank Engine - is assigned a gender. Any creature that can think or is imagined to be able to think has a gender - "he" or "she" has a personality and thoughts and feelings; "it" is a lifeless block.

    Gardeners often refer to plants by gender. Perfume collectors often refer to perfumes by gender. One of our ways of organizing our understanding of the world is to anthroporphize things, and as soon as we anthropomorphize something we almost instantly give it a gender.

    So an AI, which is designed to seem like a living being, and often designed to seem like a person, would of course have a gender.
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    An AI can be either gender or a blending of the two. It strictly comes down to the programming put into the interface when it's created. I've seen novels where the AI is male (Crossover by Matthew Shepherd comes to mind) and other's who are female (EDI from mass effect and Cortana come to mind. As does Shogun from the old System Shock games.).

    They have been novels made with female AI's-In Fury Born by David Weber is one.

    So, in closing, it doesn't matter if the AI is male or female, or a gender blur to make the concept work.
     
  4. the antithesis
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    the antithesis Member

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    I think the more recent use of A.I. gender in popular culture is a form of pandering to the teenaged boys with holes in their trouser pockets demographic. Gender is an accident of biology and really unnecessary if sex isn't possible, like when the A.I. has no genitals or is a blue glowy hologram. Technically, all A.I. would more properly be an it, not a he or she. We humans do this even to non-A.I. objects-- ever call a car a "she?"-- because we anthropomorphize these inanimate objects. We treat them like humans because we only know how to deal with humans and are arrogant enough to assume everything is like a human, including the presence of gender.

    I don't know what you're doing with your project, so direct pointers aren't possible. But seek out the review of the Matrix by sfdebris. In that video he covers the A.I. question, expanding upon what I've said a bit better than I could.
     
  5. divided_crown
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    divided_crown Member

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    As an in-universe explanation, I would suppose that there is some design rationale behind it. Here is an interesting article on that topic.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    wrong assumption... what determines gender in a non-living thing is not the entity itself, but what those who use/refer to it think of it a beings... such as is noted above re cars, ships, etc....

    it's up to you to decide what the human characters in your story think of it as being and call it...
     
  7. Scared_to_bleat
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    Scared_to_bleat New Member

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    Thanks folks!

    Okay, I have had my question answered and more :) thanks everybody this was really helpful! Pat yourselves on the back if you wish as I feel you deserve it.
     
  8. normalzebra
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    normalzebra New Member

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    Well, does an A.I really considered among the living? it could be male or female depending on who built it... It could easily be male like Jarvis in Iron man or V.I.K.I from I Robot.
    The real question is how does it help your story... cortana from Halo4 helps out as the female counterpart in an otherwise testerone filled all male game, as well as Saphira balances out Eragon as being his Yin and balancing out his decision and his emotions... so.. you might want to consider what your story wants...
    hope this helps
     

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