Google Bans Gendered Pronouns From Its AI

Published November 28th, 2018 - 06:57 GMT
This is because Google is worried that its predictive technology will inadvertently offend users by suggesting the incorrect pronoun. (Shutterstock)
This is because Google is worried that its predictive technology will inadvertently offend users by suggesting the incorrect pronoun. (Shutterstock)

After introducing Gmail's new predictive text feature 'Smart Compose' in May, Google has shed light on how it makes the feature work for all users, revealing to Reuters that it banned all gendered pronouns from the tool in an effort to make it more inclusive. 

So, if you type out the words 'I love', Smart Compose may suggest the words 'it' or 'you' to complete the sentence - but it will never suggest 'him' or 'her'.

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This is because Google is worried that its predictive technology will inadvertently offend users by suggesting the incorrect pronoun. Although it sounds like a harmless mistake, the repercussions of biased technology could be huge, as one of Google's research scientists discovered in January:

When the researcher typed “I am meeting an investor next week,” Smart Compose suggested a possible follow-up question: “Do you want to meet him?” instead of “her.” Not only could this lead to embarrassing gaffes, but it also reinforces outdated gender stereotypes and could lead to some users feeling alienated by the technology.


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