Home Tech What’s up with ChatGPT’s new sexy personality? | Arwa Mahdawi

What’s up with ChatGPT’s new sexy personality? | Arwa Mahdawi

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 What's up with ChatGPT's new sexy personality? | Arwa Mahdawi

“TO“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said Arthur C. Clarke. And this could certainly be said for OpenAI’s impressive update to ChatGPT, called GPT-4o, which launched on Monday. With the slight warning that he felt like the wizard was a horny 12-year-old who had just I saw the Spike Jonze movie Her..

If you’re not up to speed with GPT-4o (the o stands for “omni”), it’s basically an all-singing, all-dancing, all-seeing version of the original chatbot. Now you can interact with it the same way you would interact with a human, instead of through text-based questions. He can give you advice, rate your jokes, describe your surroundings, and joke with you. Sounds human. “It looks like AI from the movies,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman in a blog post on monday. “Reaching response times and expressiveness at a human level turns out to be a big change.”

has not gone unnoticed that when Altman says “movie AI,” he seems to be referring to the 2013 film Her, which featured a lonely writer who falls in love with an operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) designed to meet his every need. In many of the demonstrations, the robot’s voice sounds a bit very similar to johansson. And after Monday’s OpenAI event, Altman tweeted with a one word: “her”.

There’s nothing wrong with giving your chatbot a voice like Johansson in Her. What does feel a little strange, however, is making your chatbot strangely flirty and flirty. While the chatbot has a male voice in some of the demo videos (specifically the one in which she helps a new father practice dad jokes), several of the demo videos, including one in which she helps someone prepare for the interview, feature Johansson-like vocals. strangely seductive.

“Am I the only one who is bothered by how flirty this is?” Technologist Nick St Pierre asked on Twitter/X, linking to the interview preparation videos. Judging by the responses to his tweet, it wasn’t.

While the GPT-4o flirtation was glossed over by many articles written by men about the launch, Parmy Olson addressed it head-on in a piece for Bloomberg titled Making ChatGPT ‘sexy’ might not end well for humans.

“What are the social and psychological consequences of regularly speaking with a flirtatious, fun, and ultimately pleasant artificial voice on your phone, and then encountering a very different dynamic with men and women? in real life?” Olson asks.

OpenAI did not respond to Olson when he asked them that question. But it wasn’t necessary. We don’t have to hypothesize about the consequences of giving GPT-4o the ability to sound like a submissive young woman satisfying her every need because there is already plenty of data on that. We’ve been having conversations about the social impact of female-sounding voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa for a long time.

In 2018, for example, USC sociology professor Safiya Umoja Noble warned that the gender of attendees’ voices affects how we talk to them. Noble told New York Magazine that virtual assistants have produced an “increase in command-based speech in women’s voices. ‘Siri, find me (fill in the blank)’ is something that children, for example, can learn to do while playing with smart devices. “This is a powerful socialization tool that teaches us about the role of women, girls and people of the feminine gender in responding to demand.”

A very influential UNESCO Report 2019 He echoed Noble’s warning. “Because the speech of most voice assistants is feminine, it sends a signal that women are helpful, docile, eager-to-please helpers, available with the touch of a button or a forceful voice command like ‘hey ‘ or ‘OK’. ”the report said.

What’s crucial to note here is that these voice assistants aren’t just sending a signal about gender norms, they’re sending it on a massive scale. The UNESCO report explains, for example, that Apple’s Siri “made ‘her’ debut not as a genderless robot, but as a sassy young woman who dodged insults and liked to flirt and serve users with playful obedience. This technology was an emblematic feature in the almost 150 million iPhones that Apple sold from late 2011 to 2012. This unique technology, developed behind closed doors by a company in one state in one country, with little participation from women, shaped global expectations about what an AI assistant is and should be. in just 15 months.” And in fact, you can draw a direct line between Siri’s personality and the flirtatious GPT-4o.

That 2019 Unesco report came with a call to action. “The world needs to pay much more attention to how, when and if AI technologies are gendered and, crucially, who is gendered,” said Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO’s gender equality director.

Big Tech has paid lip service to this and has begun offering more masculine voice options with their voice assistants. Still, the new and improved “sexy” version of ChatGPT seems to make it clear that no one at OpenAI seems particularly interested in paying attention to how AI technologies are gendered and the ramifications of this. This could be because it is a male-dominated company that does not have a single woman on its board of directors for a few months. (They named three women board members in March.) It could be because they have board members like Larry Summers: the economist and former Harvard president who, in 2005, famously downplayed discrimination and suggested that men outperform women in mathematics and science because of biological difference. (He later apologized.) Or it could simply be because they don’t bother to think about things like gender; They just aren’t interested.

Despite all the talk about how innovative ChatGPT is and how it’s going to change the world, it seems like nothing has changed when it comes to misogyny in technology. It’s frustrating that we’re still having the same conversations about bias in digital technology that we’ve had for over a decade. It’s infuriating that some of the highest-paid people in the world, people who are regularly praised as the brightest minds of their generation, still seem oblivious to gender norms and their role in perpetuating them. We’re constantly told that OpenAI is building the future, but I really don’t know if a cool ChatGPT is progress.

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