Queering Robots: Is LGBTQ+ Community Considered in Robot and AI Development?

Queering Robots: Is LGBTQ+ Community Considered in Robot and AI Development?

Empowering LGBTQ+ community through technology

The technology of robots is thriving in multiple sectors from healthcare, manufacturing, retail, tourism, travel, etc. Development is taking place everywhere in every community but how far the minority groups like the LGBTQ+ community is considered in robot and AI development? Are they included in this rapid development?

The introduction of robots into society elevates ethical, legal, and societal concerns. There is a deep-routed problem in any AI applications regarding discrimination and bias.

In a new short paper in the journal 'Nature Machine Intelligence', Roger A. Søraa from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and co-authors Eduard Fosch-Villaronga from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and Adam Poulsen from Charles Sturt University in Australia discussed the demand for queering of robots.

Many drag queen Twitter accounts were examined by an AI-driven tool that predicts and confronts evolving threats. This tool was mainly created to evaluate toxicity levels of online content. This AI-driven tool indicated that the drag queen accounts have greater frequency than other toxic accounts. The AI-driven tool is trained to confront any type of toxic threats, so without understanding the content entirely these AI-driven moderation tools could hinder the freedom of speech of the minority community.

Søraa and his colleagues pointed out that technology is not designed in a vacuum but instead reflects biases and reproduces societal values and beliefs. This means if the LGBTQ+ community is included in technology envisage it could surely empower them. Also, all-rounded robotics could help eliminate the loneliness experienced by many queer adults. In the sector of education, such robotic technology can help children and young adults and can support them when they convey complicated feelings about their sexual attitude or gender identity.

There has been a lack in the inclusion of queer perspectives on robots and machines. This should be researched well and the robots should be designed keeping in mind this criterion. The designers should build a robot that talks, walks, and acts like the LGBTQ+ community.

Researchers have highlighted that it is vital that we build mechanisms and policies that recognize the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination, also for the LGBTQ+ community in the development and use of robots and AI.

The understanding of how technologies affect the LGBTQ+ community is not explored largely. Queer people mostly remain silent, powerless and they don't understand how these technologies might affect them. Users of technology generate an extensive entanglement of social constructions, relations, and practices. Everybody can make technology work; everyone understands the importance and presence of technology so there is no reason to exclude the minorities.

Holistic insertion of strategies on multiple levels from LGBTQ+ communities, as well as individuals, could ease the understanding of the challenges around discrimination and the queer community. The recent work, for example, outlier initiatives pushing for diversity in robotics and AI. The work includes CSIRO's diversity & inclusion at the robotics and autonomous systems group and queer in AI. Still, more research is needed to remove the underlying problem of how science has ignored and largely continues to ignore the LGBTQ+ community.

Diversity is about communicating the potential consequence of prejudice on society as a whole and, in particular, on minority groups. On this note, it is important that we build mechanisms and policies that highlight the importance of inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community as well in the development and use of robots and AI.

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