Male and Female Robots

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Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:03 pm

Robots and artificial intelligences (both real and fictional) are often assigned a sexual identity: C3PO is male. Data is male. Cortana is female. Alexa and Siri are female. TASbot is male.

If sex is purely a biological fact, then this use of sex in relation to non-biological entities must be incorrect. Siri and Alexa do not have bodies, much less genitals. Interestingly, Data's genitals are actually established in canon, though we might ask if he is any more male than a realistic dildo; he is modeled after a male human and provides sexual companionship for a female-presenting human fictional character, but we also know, from canon, that he is not biological, has no chromosomes, cannot reproduce sexually or feel emotions, etc. Indeed, any fictional character, who by definition exists only in the minds of its creators and audience, must be held to have no sex, and statements like "Han Solo is a man" must be literally false.

In the alternative, we might grant that "Han Solo is a man" can be meaningful, that Han Solo has a fictional biology, despite his genitals and genetics never having been depicted or described in relevant canon. But then it seems we would be giving the lie to the initial claim: Han Solo's sex has nothing to do with his fictional genitals, on which canon is silent, and everything to do with his social role, which is roughly the whole of his character. Similarly, Data is male because he is socially male; despite that his morphology is canonically synthetic, he is made to appear and act male. Likewise, female robots are expected to be socially female, despite being abiological. Some have questioned the validity or appropriateness of maintaining these social roles by assigning sex to the non-biological entities (e.g. in the context of the 'subservient woman' digital assistants). Nonetheless, this use of sex is part of the meaning of sex in society, it's recognized and accepted, and has nothing to do with biology.

The use of sex in fiction, and in relation to clearly non-biological person-like entities, suggests that the position that sex is entirely dictated by biology must be false. In fact, there is a meaningful use of sex that is abiological, that is related to social roles rather than genetic facts. There is an accepted sense in which Alexa is a woman, and Data and Han Solo are men. This is a common and non-controversial use of the concept of sex, and it has nothing to do with biology.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:43 pm

Carleas wrote:The use of sex in fiction, and in relation to clearly non-biological person-like entities, suggests that the position that sex is entirely dictated by biology must be false.
Wouldn't using fictional creatures and how some people think about them lead to a different kind of conclusion? Something like: some people think/act like, when experiencing fictional characters (some non-biological) that sex is not entirely dictated by personality.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:43 pm

I think the example of fiction and non-biological entities present a dichotomy: either 1) Alexa and Siri are not female, it's wrong to use female pronouns when referring to them, and we should denounce this misuse of sex pronouns in relation to them as strongly as we denounce any other misuse of sex pronouns, or 2) social sex is not actually necessarily tied to biology, and it's appropriate to assign a social sex to something that is not biologically that sex.

I think my actual motive is probably clear: to defend the use of social sex pronouns to refer to people who choose to present as a social sex that doesn't align with their biological sex, and to show that this use of social sex is already a part of language and the concept of sex.

But presenting it as a dichotomy does show why it should not be surprising that trans and radical feminist perspectives could come into conflict. The social use of sex implies that sex dictates social roles: a perspective that accepts transsexuality must also accept that there are distinct social and even mental sexes, and that 'treating someone like a woman' and 'treating someone like a man' are and should be meaningfully different. The other side of the dichotomy is to reject the latter claim, and reject the use of female social identity as applied to robots and virtual assistants as reinforcing sexual stereotypes and the status quo of sexual stereotypes.

Because we do in fact use language this way, I would argue that we implicitly already accept the former. But I'm sympathetic to the latter arguments that perhaps we shouldn't. That said, consistency does not seem to permit a middle ground.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:53 pm

Carleas wrote:I think my actual motive is probably clear: to defend the use of social sex pronouns to refer to people who choose to present as a social sex that doesn't align with their biological sex, and to show that this use of social sex is already a part of language and the concept of sex.

But presenting it as a dichotomy does show why it should not be surprising that trans and radical feminist perspectives could come into conflict. The social use of sex implies that sex dictates social roles: a perspective that accepts transsexuality must also accept that there are distinct social and even mental sexes, and that 'treating someone like a woman' and 'treating someone like a man' are and should be meaningfully different. The other side of the dichotomy is to reject the latter claim, and reject the use of female social identity as applied to robots and virtual assistants as reinforcing sexual stereotypes and the status quo of sexual stereotypes.
Yes, this tension is rarely mentioned by the Left as a whole. Which is a shame since it means that a very complicated X, is treated as if it was morally and philosophically clear. And I do understand, for example, Martina Navratilova, a lesbian feminist, saying that there are problems with people with the power of men's bodies coming into, for example, women's tennis.
Because we do in fact use language this way, I would argue that we implicitly already accept the former. But I'm sympathetic to the latter arguments that perhaps we shouldn't. That said, consistency does not seem to permit a middle ground.
Just to muddy the water a bit: brain studies have shown that transpersons' brains show similarities to the brains of the sex they were not born as. IOW their biology does in fact support, to a degree, their sense that they are not their birth gender.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:59 pm

I'm not sure what to make of those studies. I have seen them presented as evidence that such a difference is innate, but learning shapes the brain too, and I'm not sure how we could distinguish between observed differences that are generated by nature vs. those generated by nurture. I would expect two people who train at the piano for a similar amount of time over the course of their lives to have some similar brain structures related to that task (even if we picked them randomly and independent of talent or desire). Similarly, two people who spend similar amounts of time emulating men and fantasizing about the man they will be (as I think both transmen and regular men must in adolescence) could have some similar brain structures devoted to the task.

Do you know if the results have replicated in cross-cultural studies? If we see similar structural differences in cultures with different social sex roles, that would support the idea that it's innate. To be honest, I'm not familiar enough with the literature to know how reliably the differences in structure are found within biological/chromosomal sexes, so I'm not sure how big an effect we even need to explain. Intuitively, a smaller effect would be easier to explain through similar learning/thinking patterns.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby obsrvr524 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:32 pm

It's my understanding that the brain is merely a controlling mechanism for the body much like a government. If the body is male but the mind declares itself to be female and must be treated as such by other people, then the mind is simply deranged and insisting that its fantasy be accepted. If a government declares that its population is more socialist that capitalist, mustn't we know what else we are to fantasize? If not for higher political agendas, such deranged categorizations and language issues would not exist.

As in just the last thread I read, it seems to me that when a fantasy is chosen, the extant of the delusion to be accepted must be specified to match the desired goal of the creator. Isn't that a reasonable requirement?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:27 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:If the body is male but the mind declares itself to be female and must be treated as such by other people, then the mind is simply deranged and insisting that its fantasy be accepted.

OK, so apply this reasoning to the point I make in the OP: are we all "deranged" to call Siri female, or to assign a sex to any cartoon character? After all, their bodies are biologically neither male nor female, we are assigning them sex in a similarly fantastic way. Is that deranged?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby obsrvr524 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:43 pm

"OK, so apply this reasoning to the point I make in the OP: are we all "deranged" to call Siri female, or to assign a sex to any cartoon character? After all, their bodies are biologically neither male nor female, we are assigning them sex in a similarly fantastic way. Is that deranged?"

I would guess that there is a big difference between intentionally arranging an illusion for sake of entertainment such as a cartoon or science fiction motion picture and the unintentional delusional state of a governing body such as the mind believing in and insisting that others behave in accord with a particular fantasy.

So I would not say that the use of gender fantasies within story telling is derangement. I see it much more as manipulation of a preferred narrative.

I guess that I see it as three interrelated issues; genuine delusional state (personal derangement), entertainment (admitted derangement), and political manipulation (deranged government). I would have to keep those subjects separated to be able to make sense of any of it. Using a sexy robot might be a social political ploy. It might be merely fantasy entertainment. Or perhaps someone just genuinely believes that androids are naturally prone to develop the same characteristics as biological beings.

I think people are a fascinatingly diverse conflation of inspiration without concern for overall discipline, rationality, or sanity. And sex seems to be a big part of their focus both personally and politically.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:36 pm

I think it is an untenable assumption to suppose that people who want to have a social sex different from their biological sex don't understand what they're doing. They aren't 'genuinely delusional', in that they are aware of the biological facts.

But the larger point here is about how we understand the social dimension of sex. We know what it means, socially, to treat virtual assistants as women, despite their lack of any sexual biology -- and indeed, it's the social dimension of sex that leads companies to choose female-presenting voices for their virtual assistants. This tells us that there's a part of the concept of sex that has nothing to do with biology, and everything to do with social roles.

In a sense, all social identities are a kind of fiction. We present ourselves in a certain way to establish how we want to be treated, based on prevailing social norms and presumptions. People tune how they dress, how they speak, and what they do, to convey who they are and wish to be in society. Politicians famously flub their addresses to subcultures by attempting to affect aspects of social identity based on the crowds they're addressing, assuming 'folksy' expressions and mannerisms and dressing more or less formally, all to convey the social fiction, 'I'm one of you, I'm on your team'.

There's little difference between these things and biological men who choose to present as women to adopt the female social role. They tune their dress, their speech, and their actions to convey that they should be treated socially as women.

If your only objection is that one can do so delusionally, do you then accept when people do this with full awareness of what they're doing? If not, what's your objection to a non-delusional adoption of a social sexual role different from ones biological sex?
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Gloominary » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:13 am

Can robots feel like they were born in the wrong body?
At least it'll be easier to transition if they do, just unscrew one part and screw on another.

Will Pinocchio ever be a real boy?

Firstly, I've never met a nuts and bolts android or gynoid, so I'm not sure what I'd call it.
Last I checked, this's still 2019, and the (cultural) Marxist transhumanist utopia we've been dreaming of since the 19th century hasn't materialized just yet.
Secondly, in reference to a gynoid, I'd probably use the pronouns she and it interchangeably, and I don't think I'd call it a woman, I'd probably be more comfortable calling it a gynoid.
Did they ever call data a man on Star Trek?
Thirdly, if I were to talk about this gynoid with the other humans, I would make sure they knew I'm not talking about a flesh and blood woman before I started calling her by her name, presuming it had one, or using the pronoun she.

Transactivists want us to believe transmen and transwomen are men and women in all the ways that matter, at least psychosocially, if not biologically.
I don't think an android or gynoid could be a man or woman in all the ways that matter psychosocially, but even if they could, we're still lightyears away from that reality.
And I don't think a transman or transwoman could be a man or woman in all the ways that matter psychosocially either, altho some may be more passable than others.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:49 am

Carleas wrote:There's little difference between these things and biological men who choose to present as women to adopt the female social role. They tune their dress, their speech, and their actions to convey that they should be treated socially as women.
The problem I have with this, is what are these people saying about women who do not dress and act that way. Are butch lesbians not women? Are men who dress that way but identify as men, actually wrong? It seems to me there is an uncomfortable area in the current left PC about gender and it is mostly ignored by them. I don't think the answer to all that is simple, but it is presented as simple. If someone feels like they are X (qualities related in how they feel like acting and presenting themselves) then they are a man or woman. But this to me is making hard and fast claims about men and women, that on the other hand the PC left does not want us to be making. Why can't some of the men who have decided they are women, actually be men with those qualities? There are certainly other men who display those qualities but consider themselves men. y t

And then toss in what things like drag are saying about women. It seems taboo to look at but drag strikes me as like blackface - not in degree but in kind. Presenting a distorted outdated idea of womanhood that is often not that complimentary however dazzling the clothes and hairdos.

I feel like there are tensions inside the PC that are not being looked at, and I wonder about what younger people are making of this as they try to navigate their own complexity. A woman will be told that she can have any qualities and be a woman and should be respected even if she is a tomboy/butch/competitive person for example (and this I heartily agree with). But they also say that another teenager, say, who feels these things is absolutely correct in deciding that she is a man. How could any teenager possibly work that out. And hormone treatments and puberty blockers are available with parental consent well under the age of consent and everything at 18. Once you start in on the endocrins system, this will definitely create a kind of radical confirmation bias from that point forward.

I am old enough to have seen that earlier ideas about the limitations of both sexs - how emotional, how physically skilled, how lacking in certain emotions and interests, how intellectually skilled or not, etc. - were utterly loopy. I am glad that people regardless of their gender can more easily still consider themselves fine.

But I see something pernicious happening now where a giant mixed message is being sent at the children and from one, supposedly unified political position. You can be like anything regardless of your sex. If you seem like X you may not be a member of your biological gender. And then making widely available the tools to start hacking your gender biologically. Teenagers are not ready to make that decision and parents are not ready to give consent based on teenagers (and even younger kids nowadays) self-evaluations.

to convey that they should be treated socially as women
Now I have no idea what treated socially as women means. I get it, that this probably means, label them as they wish to be labeled. But note the language it is couched in. Treated socially like women. After all this time there is now still a way I should be treating women socially that I do not treat men like? Open doors for them? Condescend? Avoid politics and sports as topics? I know, of course that's not what you or they mean. But really it should mean nothing, except labelling. And why must one label`? if we can be anything as either sex.

Am I a partial trans because I have certain (supposedly ) female attributes more than other men. And I do. Since everyone pares down their attributes as far as I can tell to become the cutout figures most adults have decided is best.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby obsrvr524 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:20 am

"I think it is an untenable assumption to suppose that people who want to have a social sex different from their biological sex don't understand what they're doing. They aren't 'genuinely delusional', in that they are aware of the biological facts."

The derangement that I refer to is not of the conscious choice, but of the inspiration. If a man believed himself to be a robot, insisted that society treat him as such with all of the benefits of warranties, guarantees, and replacement parts then proceeded to insist that the government fund the upgrading of his biological body with mechanical parts, would you be making the same argument? Should he be treated as less than you? Are you a bigot? Don't you believe in healthcare for all?

What if he believed himself to be a dog or a tree. What is the difference in those beliefs and believing that he is a female? And why should other people pay to have him pursue his deranged belief?

"But the larger point here is about how we understand the social dimension of sex. We know what it means, socially, to treat virtual assistants as women, despite their lack of any sexual biology -- and indeed, it's the social dimension of sex that leads companies to choose female-presenting voices for their virtual assistants. This tells us that there's a part of the concept of sex that has nothing to do with biology, and everything to do with social roles."

I have a different education on that issue than you. I don't think that I can accept your premise that sex is the only reason that females are chosen for those occupations. And so I cant accept your conclusion that it is all about social role playing. You seem to be accepting and presuming a fallacious sexist perspective to make an argument against sexism.

If women or female models are chosen for those occupations for a different reason than you propose ,and I believe that they are, then your argument is void.

"In a sense, all social identities are a kind of fiction. We present ourselves in a certain way to establish how we want to be treated, based on prevailing social norms and presumptions."

Yes, that is your, I believe, false premise defeating your apparent socialist globalism support effort.

"People tune how they dress, how they speak, and what they do, to convey who they are and wish to be in society. Politicians famously flub their addresses to subcultures by attempting to affect aspects of social identity based on the crowds they're addressing, assuming 'folksy' expressions and mannerisms and dressing more or less formally, all to convey the social fiction, 'I'm one of you, I'm on your team'.

There's little difference between these things and biological men who choose to present as women to adopt the female social role. They tune their dress, their speech, and their actions to convey that they should be treated socially as women."

I think that part is all true but irrelevant in that it is merely the aftermath of a possible delusion and intentional deceptive manipulation.

The issue that you seem to be avoiding entirely is, "why are they even wanting people to treat them as something that they clearly are not?" And that is related but a different issue than why people want their robots to seem gender related.

It seems to me that billions of years of evolution created behaviors of creatures by killing off what didn't work for their survival and propagation. To now claim that it has all been merely a social role playing game that can be easily rewritten seems excessively naive and petulant.

"what's your objection to a non-delusional adoption of a social sexual role different from ones biological sex?"

Who said that I objected?

When someone is ill, I don't object to them coughing, being lazy, and perhaps irritable, and perhaps for the rest of their life. But that doesn't mean that I am accepting that they are not sick. But I don't see how that has anything at all to do with why androids are built gender specific.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby surreptitious75 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:04 pm

Carleas wrote:
so apply this reasoning to the point I make in the OP : are we all deranged to call Siri female or to assign a sex to any cartoon
character ? After all their bodies are biologically neither male nor female we are assigning them sex in a similarly fantastic way

It is not deranged at all but is simply the extension of anthropomorphism from animal to machine
This phenomenon already exists with ships for example being referred to by the female pronoun
It is nothing more than the natural desire to humanise certain non human objects that one likes
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:27 pm

Gloominary wrote:Can robots feel like they were born in the wrong body?

This misses the point. Rather, knowing that their bodies have no biological sex to speak of, we still happily use gendered pronouns to refer to them.

Gloominary wrote:Did they ever call data a man on Star Trek?

Yes. There's an episode in the first season of Next Generation called "Measure of a Man", the title referring to Data, and the plot revolving around a tribunal to decide whether Data has rights (the question isn't whether he's a man vs. a woman, but a man vs. a machine). This is also one of the episodes that establishes the shape of Data's genitals in canon.

But Data is almost always referred to by male pronouns, and when he's referred to as 'it', it's deliberately to disparage him and reflects badly on the speaker in context.


Karpel Tunnel, I agree with your points, there's absolutely a tension in PC culture between demanding the use of chosen gender pronouns and demanding equal treatment for all genders. But my response would be that, in practice, we don't treat men and women equally, it is a true descriptive statement that there are social sexual roles. Whether or not that should continue, while it's the case, we should be open to letting people choose their sexual role. There are arguments that this will tend to reinforce those roles, but I think it's more likely that it will continue to erode the distinction and increase equality. And, in any case, if there's less stigma attached to switching roles, there's less problem with those roles existing anyway.

I also agree with your point about drag and blackface, and I'm under the impression that there are people that consider it as similar in both degree and kind (I would bet that there are TERF scholars who take this position). But I also think the Rachel Dolezal case (the white woman who lived as a black woman) was not as straightforward as it was made out to be. Like with sex, there are dimensions of racial difference that have eroded over the past half century in ways that make those cases more likely. Take for example Black English Vernacular, which is spoken by people of all races that grow up in cultures in which that dialect is spoken. Certain elements of race are actually derived from culture, and where race and culture were once more reliably aligned (at least in the US), the correlation is much weaker now, but the concepts surrounding them have lagged. If someone grows up in a culture that would have historically only been open to people of a certain race, there's a live question as to whether they will identify primarily by their 'biological race' or their 'cultural race'.

obsrvr524 wrote:If a man believed himself to be a robot, insisted that society treat him as such with all of the benefits of warranties, guarantees, and replacement parts then proceeded to insist that the government fund the upgrading of his biological body with mechanical parts, would you be making the same argument? Should he be treated as less than you? Are you a bigot? Don't you believe in healthcare for all?

What if he believed himself to be a dog or a tree. What is the difference in those beliefs and believing that he is a female? And why should other people pay to have him pursue his deranged belief?

I think this is beside the point. First, to your latter question, one big difference is that there are a lot of people who identify as a sex different from their biological sex, and not so many (if any) who identify as a dog or a tree.

Second, how we should fund healthcare is a distinct a complicated question. What counts as a discretionary procedure extends far beyond sex reassignment: Vasectomy? Vision correction? Sleep apnea? Cleft lip? There's a lot of grey here, and it's not helpful to inject all that grey as an impediment to resolving the simpler question: There are plenty of pre-op trans people who only ask to be acknowledge in social contexts as the sex that they signal through their speech, dress, behavior, etc. We should grant that to them.

obsrvr524 wrote:I don't think that I can accept your premise that sex is the only reason that females are chosen for those occupations....
If women or female models are chosen for those occupations for a different reason than you propose ,and I believe that they are, then your argument is void.

Well, I'm not talking about women or female models, I'm talking about a disembodied voice on a phone.

obsrvr524 wrote:I think that part is all true but irrelevant in that it is merely the aftermath of a possible delusion and intentional deceptive manipulation.

I should clarify that I don't think this is usually deceptive. A person anecdote: I grew up in Boston with a bit of the local accent, and my parents have fairly strong accents. I went to school in California and over a couple years, my accent shifted. My friends tell me that when I would go home for holidays, my accent would come roaring back. That wasn't a deliberate choice on my part, I can't even perceive the difference myself.This is a common thing, people tend to unconsciously mirror the people their around, in speech, behavior, body posture, etc. It's part of human social communication, and likely aids cooperation and community.

Another finding I read about recently is that people shift the pitch of their voice in ways that signal their place in a social hierarchy. This happens rapidly, and people's private evaluation of group dynamics strongly track the changes. This seems more closely related the selection of a social sexual role: people signal how they should be treated by the group. It's not duplicitous, if anything it's quite honest.

obsrvr524 wrote:The issue that you seem to be avoiding entirely is, "why are they even wanting people to treat them as something that they clearly are not?"

I'm avoiding it because there's not a single answer, and in a social setting you will never know why a specific person wants that. You have to make a choice in the absence of that knowledge. I'm arguing that in many other contexts, we make the choice to assign a social sexual role that is not tied to biology. We do that all the time, and so we should be willing to do it for people.

If I know that a specific person is doing it for a bad reason, e.g. to scam the government, or that some other response will be better for them, e.g. they think they're the queen of England and I'm their shrink, then we can of course make exceptions. But the general rule should be the one we already use in assigning social sex distinct from biology, i.e. go ahead and accept the role they are signaling.

obsrvr524 wrote:It seems to me that billions of years of evolution created behaviors of creatures by killing off what didn't work for their survival and propagation. To now claim that it has all been merely a social role playing game that can be easily rewritten seems excessively naive and petulant.

Except that culture and biology evolve separately. We're talking about a cultural change, and conversations like this one, and the behavior changes they engender, are how cultures evolve.

obsrvr524 wrote:I don't see how that has anything at all to do with why androids are built gender specific.

That relates to how we use social sex. It shows that we already conceive of social sex as distinct from biological sex.

surreptitious75 wrote:It is nothing more than the very natural desire to humanise certain non human objects one likes

I think this is a fair critique of my position, though not a defeater. The question is, if we remove biology from sex, should we remove it from species? If we treat Siri as human, do we then accept that humanness is not about biology? But my response is, yes. We treat Siri as a human because she's designed to be interacted with in a human-like way. But we know that we don't have to feed her or let her vote. Similarly, we treat her as a woman to the extent that it matters, e.g. caller her "her" (and, arguably, ordering her about).

In the same way, we can treat female-presenting biological men as women in social contexts to the extent that it's relevant, without assuming that they have periods or get pregnant.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:17 pm

Carleas wrote:The use of sex in fiction, and in relation to clearly non-biological person-like entities, suggests that the position that sex is entirely dictated by biology must be false. In fact, there is a meaningful use of sex that is abiological, that is related to social roles rather than genetic facts. There is an accepted sense in which Alexa is a woman, and Data and Han Solo are men. This is a common and non-controversial use of the concept of sex, and it has nothing to do with biology.


It's representational... and the only thing that's "incorrect" is treating it as anything different.

If we point to a specific spot on a map and say "that's new york" that can be correct or incorrect depending on where on the map we point.
But it can also be "incorrect" regardless of where we point if you take any of that to mean it's the real new york and not merely where it's represented on the map.

Presumably this fact about maps and named locations does not hinge on the similarities of the social roles of maps vs actual locations or any such thing...
But rather on whether the real thing is being, in one form or another, recognizably represented

Gender certainly can be and often is separable from biological sex, but it then becomes representational... the same way geographic locations can be represented on pieces of paper, digitally, or in our minds.
Ships are traditionally referred to as female and given female names, for who knows what reason.. perhaps because captains felt like they were wed to their ship and that they loved "it" like they would a woman.
Siri and Alexa were given feminine voices, that's a much more pronounced and less abstract representation of human females than ships ever were...
And yet for all the years in which we spoke of ships as females... we managed to stave off any confusion about it merely being representational.. through no real effort, I might add.

There is no mystery here, this is not complicated... and I can only speculate as to why you think it worth discussing, especially in the context of social roles.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby WendyDarling » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:40 pm

But what's interesting is the biological representations persist in other words Siri is modeled after the sound of female vocal cords and referred to as such. If we were to scrap traditional biological references to the sexes and their corresponding genders then Siri with a female voice would be referred to as a male which would be confusing, retarded, and inaccurate.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Gloominary » Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:08 am

Gloominary wrote: Can robots feel like they were born in the wrong body?

Carleas wrote: This misses the point. Rather, knowing that their bodies have no biological sex to speak of, we still happily use gendered pronouns to refer to them.

Lol, that was intended as a joke.

Gloominary wrote: Did they ever call data a man on Star Trek?

Carleas wrote: Yes. There's an episode in the first season of Next Generation called "Measure of a Man", the title referring to Data, and the plot revolving around a tribunal to decide whether Data has rights (the question isn't whether he's a man vs. a woman, but a man vs. a machine). This is also one of the episodes that establishes the shape of Data's genitals in canon.

But Data is almost always referred to by male pronouns, and when he's referred to as 'it', it's deliberately to disparage him and reflects badly on the speaker in context.

I grew up watching Star Trek TNG, I've seen every episode multiple times and I never once heard the characters call Data human or a man...not that we should be modeling our social norms off a work of fiction, an extremely progressive work of fiction at that.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Gloominary » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:26 am

What bothers me most about the trans movement, is how undemocratic it is.
Progressive ideologues and psychologists together with the MS(S)M and entertainment industry dubiously claim to represent the trans community (why're trans people suddenly a community instead of individuals?) a demographic that comprises less than 1% of the population) want to rewrite some of our most basic, fundamental sexual norms for 100% of the population overnight.
Disagree, hell voice your concerns publicly and you'll be vilified, ostracized and doxed by a very tiny, but very loud gang of progressive bullies.

We were never asked for our input, just shut up and accept everything they're rolling out for us in succession: reconceiving and defining gender, the nouns man and woman, the pronouns he and she, gender-neutral bathrooms, transwomen athletes competing with women, taxpayers paying for trans people's sex reassignment surgery, having your children stolen from you if you don't agree to pay for their sex reassignment surgery as well, and on and on it goes.

I mean in the last several years we've just been blindsided and bombarded with this shit almost on the daily by the MSM from waaay faaar out in the left field.
And we're all just supposed to go along with it like unthinking zombies.
Yes Mr. Zuckerberg, whatever you say, there are 50 genders...wait hold on 93 now?
Okay there are 93 genders, must've missed that memo this morning.
But why not 247?
Why not 6580?

Notice how choreographed it is too, every MSM outlet in complete agreement, not just in the US and Canada but all over the western world.
This is not a spontaneous, organic, grassroots phenomenon, this's all being orchestrated top-down by the social engineers.

We need to have a public discussion about this first, last I checked this is still a democracy, not a progressive or psychiatric dictatorship.
Gender isn't broken and doesn't need to be fixed, it's been working out for almost everyone for centuries if not millennia.
The vast majority of people are fine or happy with their biological sex, with being raised in accordance with their biological sex, only a tiny minority of people are unhappy.
And most people are fine with the traditional definition of man and woman.

Almost everybody I talk to thinks all of this is absolutely ludicrous and when it comes to children, dangerous, again it's mostly a small group of radicals who think it's a great idea.
We need to stop acquiescing and start resisting the tyrannical social engineers and take back our democracy.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:10 am

Carleas wrote:Karpel Tunnel, I agree with your points, there's absolutely a tension in PC culture between demanding the use of chosen gender pronouns and demanding equal treatment for all genders. But my response would be that, in practice, we don't treat men and women equally, it is a true descriptive statement that there are social sexual roles. Whether or not that should continue, while it's the case, we should be open to letting people choose their sexual role.
And I would do this. If someone wanted to be called something other than what they seem to be to my eyes, I would do it. But this doesn't mean I endorse the philosophy, per se. More important, yes, we do treat them differently but one part, the part I support, of the Left is saying let's end that. The other part is saying it's fine and good to continue that, to create and support stereotypes, to teach children those stereotypes - for example the whole drag queens reading children stories movement, or the whole, if you think you have the qualities of a girl but were born a boy then you are a transperson philosophy. That is problematic. It's gone beyond 'accept people for who they are' to a philosophical underpinned based on fixed sex qualities.


There are arguments that this will tend to reinforce those roles, but I think it's more likely that it will continue to erode the distinction and increase equality.
I can't see how. You will have adults telling girls and boys that girls, for example can be like X, should not be exluded from B because they are girls and also that girls needs not be Y. They you are also telling them that Janie is a girl despite being born in a body that is male, and this is based on not feeling like a male inside. And then Janie will, generally, though yes, not always, act more like a girl (in the traditional sense) than many of the girls. And they everyone will be told they are bad (though often not in those words) if they do not accept this. That's a mess, and I cannot see how that mess in part reinforces the differences, and in fact is more pernicious because it is a kind of brainwashing, wehre one says opposing 'truths' to people. IOW this is a method used by brainwashers. I am not using the term to simply mean 'sticking ideas without consent into people's heads' but the use of contradictory messages is a tool used in attempts to brainwash.

And, in any case, if there's less stigma attached to switching roles, there's less problem with those roles existing anyway.
I am not sure that is the case. And since there is incredible rage and judgment aimed at those not accepting something that at the same time is being fought elsewhere, I don't think the roles will be less fixed.

I also agree with your point about drag and blackface, and I'm under the impression that there are people that consider it as similar in both degree and kind (I would bet that there are TERF scholars who take this position). But I also think the Rachel Dolezal case (the white woman who lived as a black woman) was not as straightforward as it was made out to be. Like with sex, there are dimensions of racial difference that have eroded over the past half century in ways that make those cases more likely. Take for example Black English Vernacular, which is spoken by people of all races that grow up in cultures in which that dialect is spoken. Certain elements of race are actually derived from culture, and where race and culture were once more reliably aligned (at least in the US), the correlation is much weaker now, but the concepts surrounding them have lagged. If someone grows up in a culture that would have historically only been open to people of a certain race, there's a live question as to whether they will identify primarily by their 'biological race' or their 'cultural race'.
I wouldn't call that blackface. It's something else. I don't think I judged that woman. I think it's off for her to say she's black, but I have sympathy for her sense of that. I can see no reason to tell others that however. I can certainly imagine saying, I feel black, to friends.

My beliefs actually include an ontology that actually allow for being born in the wrong body. I would be considered loopy by many here on these topics. However I think it is more rare than is now being put forward. My main concern is what is being aimed at teenagers and younger with their radically plastic brains trying to reconcile two unreconcilable messages, both coming from the PC of just one group. It's bad enough when several groups are in on the 'education' each with different philosophies. but now we have one group aiming contradictory messages.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby obsrvr524 » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:50 pm

"one big difference is that there are a lot of people who identify as a sex different from their biological sex, and not so many (if any) who identify as a dog or a tree."

All that says is that there are many more people who have cancer than influenza.

"Second, how we should fund healthcare is a distinct a complicated question. What counts as a discretionary procedure extends far beyond sex reassignment: Vasectomy? Vision correction? Sleep apnea? Cleft lip? "

Hey, there are a lot of serious things happening over the issue as to whether biological males are to be allowed abortion rights. People are being targeted, fired, and removed from influential positions due to the argument. So don't think that any of this stuff has to make sense.

"the simpler question: There are plenty of pre-op trans people who only ask to be acknowledge in social contexts as the sex that they signal through their speech, dress, behavior, etc. We should grant that to them."

They want, much as young children, to be treated in their own special way. But why should anyone be required by law to treat anyone as anything different than what they actually are?

You are now demanding that society be nothing at all but a fictitious pretense. This is what I was saying before. You are insisting that your premise of fictitious role playing be a requirement.

"I'm talking about a disembodied voice on a phone."

Same difference. I believe that such things are chosen for reasons unrelated to social submission concepts and your demanded role playing scenario.

"I should clarify that I don't think this is usually deceptive. A person anecdote: I grew up in Boston with a bit of the local accent, and my parents have fairly strong accents. I went to school in California and over a couple years, my accent shifted. My friends tell me that when I would go home for holidays, my accent would come roaring back. That wasn't a deliberate choice on my part, I can't even perceive the difference myself.This is a common thing, people tend to unconsciously mirror the people their around, in speech, behavior, body posture, etc. It's part of human social communication, and likely aids cooperation and community."

We were talking about the choices people make concerning how they present themselves and want to be perceived, not the general influences that cause perceptions to vary.

obsrvr524 wrote:The issue that you seem to be avoiding entirely is, "why are they even wanting people to treat them as something that they clearly are not?"

"I'm avoiding it because there's not a single answer, and in a social setting you will never know why a specific person wants that. You have to make a choice in the absence of that knowledge. I'm arguing that in many other contexts, we make the choice to assign a social sexual role that is not tied to biology. We do that all the time, and so we should be willing to do it for people."

You were questioning the legitimacy of my word "deranged". Understanding their motivation is required to determine whether they are deranged or merely manipulative. If you choose to focus on those who are not consciously attempting to manipulate society either through deception or merely social pressure, there is no other option but that their mind has refused the reality of what they are. And that is called "being deranged".

So it appears that you demand that people submit to the mental derangement of others.

Isn't that the same as the immigration issue as it relates to criminal illegal aliens who are not only free from prosecution but also are to be given free healthcare, free homestead, free schooling, and free college. All at tax payers expense.

In both cases you are supporting the abuse of the current population (demanding that they obey and fund the deranged and sometimes illegal whims of others) for sake of manipulating a global socialism into supreme authority. Whether you do this intentionally isn't my call to make but if you are familiar with global politics, especially as it relates to the USA, you can certainly see the direct relationship and inevitable consequences.

I think that robots are given gender appearance for teasing sales and manipulating a population into dictatorial submission. It has nothing to do with submissive social roles, but rather simple sex appeal as a snare into inescapable mass submission of both genders. And I find it hard to believe that you wouldn't know that. Perhaps you can convince me.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:06 pm

Mad Man P wrote:There is no mystery here, this is not complicated... and I can only speculate as to why you think it worth discussing, especially in the context of social roles.

This is interesting, because it seems completely aligned with what I'm arguing. To treat someone socially as a certain sex is to point to the map and say "New York". We aren't saying that the picture on a map has an aquifer or a looming problem with coastal flooding, and we aren't saying anything about Siri's genitals. Neither are we suggesting anything about the biology of a female-presenting person who clearly signals that they wish to treated socially as a woman when we grant them that.

Gloominary wrote:I grew up watching Star Trek TNG, I've seen every episode multiple times and I never once heard the characters call Data human or a man

I was mistaken, Measure of a Man was from the second season:
Wikiquote wrote:Data: Sir? There is a celebration on the holodeck.
William Riker: [despondent] I have no right to be there.
Data: Because you failed in your task?
William Riker: Oh, God, no, I was that close to winning, Data.
Data: [considers the statement] Yes, sir.
William Riker: I almost cost you your life!
Data: That is true, sir. But Commander... Will. I have learned from your example.
William Riker: [perplexed] What could you possibly have learned from that ordeal?
Data: That at times, one must deny one's nature, sacrifice one's own personal beliefs, to protect another. Is it not true that had you refused to prosecute, Captain Louvois would have ruled summarily against me?
William Riker: Yes.
Data: That action injured you, and saved me. I will not forget it.
William Riker: [smiles] You're a wise man, my friend.
Data: Not yet, sir. But with your help, I am learning.


Gloominary wrote:not that we should be modeling our social norms off a work of fiction, an extremely progressive work of fiction at that.

My argument here is that these works of fiction reflect our existing social norms: we do in fact treat social sex and biological sex as distinct, as evidenced by our application of the concept to thing we acknowledge to be abiological.

I wrote:There are arguments that this will tend to reinforce those roles, but I think it's more likely that it will continue to erode the distinction and increase equality.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I can't see how.

A few thoughts to support my claim:

Most importantly, it just erodes the meaningful distinction between men and women. As you show, it becomes harder to make true general statements about women if the set of women includes people with penises etc.

But another way is that it shifts how people signal female-ness. One reason that drag queens go over-the-top in terms of femininity is that they are trying to overcome their biology: as drag queens are by definition not transsexual, they still have many male traits; a flamboyant femininity is one way to outweigh them, so be perceived as feminine despite their male physiology. Similarly, because biological sex affects gross morphology like the shape of the face and body, features which are hard to alter even with sex-reassignment, transwomen may wear more feminine clothes and more makeup to overcome those latent male signals. As a result, as trans people gain prominence, it may be that the most feminine-presenting people in society are trans, and that very strong adherence to traditional sexual roles becomes a weaker signal of biological sex. That means that biological women who want to signal not only their social sex but their biological sex will be incentivized to be less feminine. The example that comes to mind is of the 'pixie cut', i.e. very short hair typically only worn by very feminine-featured women. Short hair is a traditionally male signal, but it can be a strong female counter-signal that says in a sense, "I'm so feminine that I don't need traditional social sexual signals for you to see that I'm a woman".

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I would be considered loopy by many here on these topics.

I have gotten the impression that anyone who tries to have a rational and self-consistent position on these issues is considered loopy. And with the world being what it is, I have to admit that it's a bit crazy to take the risk of even engaging in a conversation such as this. But it's clearly a topic worth discussing, if only so we have a reasonably well thought out response when our kids inevitably ask.

obsrvr524 wrote:All that says is that there are many more people who have cancer than influenza.

While I think the disease comparison is question-begging, I will point out that we do treat different diseases differently on number of dimensions.

obsrvr524 wrote:why should anyone be required by law to treat anyone as anything different than what they actually are?

I haven't taken any position here with respect to law. My argument here is that people who don't pedantically correct anyone who e.g. refers to Data as a man also shouldn't pedantically refuse to e.g. call Caitlyn Jenner a woman.

What laws and social consequences follow from that argument are a separate issue. I will say that I don't generally endorse speech restrictions. There are many things that I would consider irrational or even morally wrong that I don't think should be illegal.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby WendyDarling » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:43 pm

We recognize based on biology for it is literally what signifies gender. I don't believe in social sexual distinctions as legitimate for they are based on unnatural lies.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Carleas » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:12 pm

Sorry, WendyDarling, I meant to respond to your early comment as well.

WendyDarling wrote:If we were to scrap traditional biological references to the sexes and their corresponding genders then Siri with a female voice would be referred to as a male which would be confusing, retarded, and inaccurate.

This doesn't follow. Siri's only social-sexual attribute is the sound of her voice (I think Apple actually been careful not to give her additional female social-sexual attributes, to the point that in WWDC talks and on their website, they actually don't use gendered pronouns to refer to her).

Now, we consider some rules for social sex recognition: one rule is that we rely solely on biology, in which case it's incorrect to refer to Siri as female. Another would be that we rely on biology for humans and the sum of social-sexual attributes elsewhere, which is what seems to be the predominant anti-trans position, and under which we treat Siri as female because the sum of her social-sexual attributes says 'female'. My position is that we rely on the sum of social-sexual attributes in all cases, under which we treat Siri as female because the sum of her social-sexual attributes says 'female'.

WendyDarling wrote:We recognize based on biology for it is literally what signifies gender. I don't believe in social sexual distinctions as legitimate for they are based on unnatural lies.

Come on, you don't accuse everyone who refers to Alexa or Siri or Data or Thor by a gendered pronoun of being a liar. You don't act the way you're describing. You actually use gendered language for things that do not have a gendered biology, and you have no problem with other people who do that. The only basis on which you can do that is the social signaling of sex.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Mad Man P » Thu Jul 25, 2019 4:45 pm

Carleas wrote:To treat someone socially as a certain sex is to point to the map and say "New York". We aren't saying that the picture on a map has an aquifer or a looming problem with coastal flooding, and we aren't saying anything about Siri's genitals. Neither are we suggesting anything about the biology of a female-presenting person who clearly signals that they wish to treated socially as a woman when we grant them that.


That's a false analogy... on two fronts.
First of all you can point to the WRONG spot on the map, it's not arbitrary where "New York" is represented there.
Second, referring to people as though they are of another gender is not like pointing to a map... people are not commonly viewed as "representations".
It'd be akin to pointing to the ACTUAL city of Boston and saying "New York"... No one would assume what you meant was "it represents New York"
Even if they did I doubt they would agree... as it's more akin to Boston than it is to New York...

Here's a thought experiment to help underline this:
Imagine Data with Siri's voice... I dare say most people would still refer to Data as male, because body type is more typical to gender than voice is, which makes the suggestion that Data represents a male, more compelling.
Now picture a member of an alien species that's humanoid, mammalian, very stout, muscular and has plenty of facial hair and generally far more typically masculine than Data in appearance.
Yet this is the member of the species that birthes their live young and secrets milk etc... We'd all recognise this as the female of the species, and refer to it as such.
Because biological function is more typical to gender than superficial appearances...

There's a pattern here Carleas... Our treatment of men and women socially is a reflection of what we perceive to be typical differences between them. Now our perception might be wrong, we might be misinformed, but we're not looking for exceptions to inform our behavior... we're looking for the norms, the most typical examples and patterns, that is what we want to inform our behavior. Because then our behavior will be suitable and comfortable to the majority.
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Re: Male and Female Robots

Postby Gloominary » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:09 pm

Gloominary wrote:
I grew up watching Star Trek TNG, I've seen every episode multiple times and I never once heard the characters call Data human or a man

Carleas wrote:
I was mistaken, Measure of a Man was from the second season:
Wikiquote wrote:
Data: Sir? There is a celebration on the holodeck.
William Riker: [despondent] I have no right to be there.
Data: Because you failed in your task?
William Riker: Oh, God, no, I was that close to winning, Data.
Data: [considers the statement] Yes, sir.
William Riker: I almost cost you your life!
Data: That is true, sir. But Commander... Will. I have learned from your example.
William Riker: [perplexed] What could you possibly have learned from that ordeal?
Data: That at times, one must deny one's nature, sacrifice one's own personal beliefs, to protect another. Is it not true that had you refused to prosecute, Captain Louvois would have ruled summarily against me?
William Riker: Yes.
Data: That action injured you, and saved me. I will not forget it.
William Riker: [smiles] You're a wise man, my friend.
Data: Not yet, sir. But with your help, I am learning.

Riker was having an emotional moment.
99.8% of the time the cast used the noun android in reference to the android Data, not man, and no one took offence to this, including Data himself.
From the very same episode:



Riker: Commander what are you?
Data: An android...made to resemble a human being.

Dolls, manakins, puppets, sculptures and toys are made to resemble animals and human beings.
We may even call a figurine or statuette made to resemble a dog, a dog, but still no one would object to calling it a figurine, and everyone knows it's essentially a figurine, not a dog, whereas many transwomen object to being called men, and want everyone to think of them as essentially women, even tho they know they were born with XY chromosomes and a penis, and women were, and still are defined by most people as having XX chromosomes, tits and vaginas.

Resemblance doesn't precede existence, existence precedes resemblance.

Gloominary wrote:
not that we should be modeling our social norms off a work of fiction, an extremely progressive work of fiction at that.

My argument here is that these works of fiction reflect our existing social norms: we do in fact treat social sex and biological sex as distinct, as evidenced by our application of the concept to thing we acknowledge to be abiological.

Then why point to fiction?
Why not point to the social norms directly?
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