From Alexa to Siri and the GDPR: The Gendering of Virtual Personal Assistants and the Role of EU Data Protection Law
26 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 9, 2018
With female names, voices and characters, artificially intelligent Virtual Personal Assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana, appear to be decisively gendered female. Through an exploration of the various facets of gendering at play in the design of Siri, Alexa and Cortana, we argue that this can be understood as posing a societal harm, insofar as they reproduce normative assumptions about the role of women as submissive and secondary to men. As a potential solution to this problem, this article then turns to explore the scope and potential of data protection law. In particular, we examine the role of data privacy impact assessments that highlight the need to go beyond the data privacy paradigm.
Keywords: AI; Data Protection Impact Assessments; Discrimination; EU Data Protection Law; Fundamental Rights; GDPR; VPAs
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