We already know self-driving cars are ‘racist,’ but the ‘bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans,’ according to a researcher. What’s next? White plates?
“Have you ever noticed the popularity of white robots?” asks CNN’s Caroline Klein and David Allan.
Don’t worry. They explain it for you.
“The reason for these shades of technological white may be racism,” they write, “according to new research.”
“Robots And Racism,” a study conducted by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) and published by the country’s University of Canterbury, suggests people perceive physically human-like robots to have a race and therefore apply racial stereotypes to white and black robots.
These colors have been found to trigger social cues that determine how humans react to and behave toward other people and also, apparently, robots.
“The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans,” lead researcher Christoph Bartneck explained to The Next Web. He told CNN, “It is amazing to see how people who had no prior interaction with robots show racial bias towards them.”
The researchers think this is an issue that needs to be addressed. “If robots are supposed to function as teachers, friends, or carers, for instance, then it will be a serious problem if all of these roles are only ever occupied by robots that are racialized as White,” according to the study.
Have you ever noticed the popularity of white robots? The reason for these shades of technological white may be racism, according to new research. https://t.co/PHJHO91VtA
— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2019
Never mind the fact that white plastic—or porcelain on dinner plates, for example—does not hide dirt as does other colors, you must be a racist if you have a white robot.
If a person drives a white car, or likes to have white teeth, is that person a racist as well?
[Apparently, self-driving cars are racist, according to Vox.]
Ironically, the CNN writers open their article by using an example Will Smith’s I, Robot of white-robot popularity.
Perhaps they did not see the movie, which is based on writings by Isaac Asimov. However, the Hollywood version of the story centers around a black hero (Will Smith) saving the human population from white robots, who are being controlled by the “female” VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence).
There’s probably a lot to unpack with I, Robot, but racial underpinnings of the use of white robots in the film is probably not one of them.
Although most Americans don’t own robots (yet), it is good to know that the writers at CNN have now inspired a lot virtue-signaling wannabe-robot owners to think about what other colors to order their robots in…if they can ever afford them.
As RedState’s Brandon Morse notes: “It seems more likely that we need a refresher on what the word ‘racism’ actually is.”