Fetishizing the disembodied voice

There are countless tumblrs and blogs dedicated to sexualizing Siri, telling her dirty things and awaiting her response. Spike Jonze’s newest film, “Her,” is about a romance between a man and his personal assistant, Samantha. This is the logical next step for voice-communicative technology. Due to the Eliza Effect and the tendency to treat Siri as a companion, we are moving away from simply using Siri as a personal assistant.

What is dangerous about our evolving relationship with Siri is that she remains a submissive, 1940’s cliche of how a woman should behave.  Turkle claims that people are happier communicating with robots instead of real people. By fetishizing Siri and treating her as a companion, the sexist stereotype that ideal woman is submissive and attentive pervades. Siri’s “sassy” personality is thought to be endearing and even sexy. Her snide remarks are not taken seriously, but are solely for amusement. Consider the paradox that Siri poses: The more advanced our technology becomes, bringing about Turing’s vision of “thinking machines,” we are actually falling behind when it comes to progressing gender equality.

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