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EI not AI: Ethical AI and Inclusivity

Sumedha Makula 

It’s not a human but a robot. Odisha’s first private news channel, OTV, has launched its first Artificial Intelligence news anchor, Lisa. It’s a milestone in new technological journalism. It struck me that it was a robot, not a human. But the technocratic oligarchs, who are in the majority male, white, and casteist, necessarily try to ‘Sanskritise technology’ and degrade humanism.

When you see Lisa, we blindly accept that an anchor is fair- skinned, traditionally clothed, with an appropriate Bindi, long hair, and a so-called “right” body shape and size, entrenching the toxic values of patriarchy and racism. This ‘Patriarchal Intelligence (PI)’ is making technology immune to equality and gendering the artificially neutral robots. These racist robots, anti-equality AIs, will inevitably transform Machine learning into ‘Man Learning’.

Need Space

The first mission of ISRO’s Gaganyaan is to test flight a half humanoid robot named ‘Vyommitra,’ which exactly matches PI. The female-looking robot is to create the illusion of sending women to space. The ‘unaugmented reality’ is that women share a scarce 20% in the International Space Workforce, according to the UN. A bird cannot fly with one wing. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women,” said Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.


Technology does not disallow rapes on virtual interfaces, nor does it punish the accused netizen as laws for the same are absent. In a virtual reality event on the Metaverse platform, the female avatar of Nina Jane Patel, a 43-year-old Head of Metaverse Research for Kabuni, was groped and gang-raped by four other male avatars while other avatars acted as digital bystanders. In her blog, Patel writes, “Within sixty seconds of joining, I was verbally and sexually harassed… 3 to 4 male avatars with male voices… virtually gang-raped my avatar and took photos.” But for Mark Zuckerberg, it’s still about money. The Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act needs to broaden its scope and digitally equip gender-sensitive tools to face the dangerous digital world.

Alexa, Gendering the Voice

Do you remember hearing Alexa, Amazon’s Virtual Assistant device, in a male voice? Not until recently was there an option to switch to a male voice, and it was, by default, a feminine one. It is the notion of a female voice as ‘soft, tender, and pleasing’ and the assumption that its users are mostly men.

Objectification, as Martha Nussbaum says, entails making into something… something that is really not a thing. Male robots like Henry with stereotypical 6-pack bodies and superhuman performance, and female robots with stereotypical bikinis, are the new age products of sex. Objectification of robots will enhance the ideas of patriarchal attitudes and drive the human race to the bottom.

RC Factor

Yuval Noah Harari in ’21 lessons for the 21st century’ said AI is a potential disruptor to humanity and allows racial profiling and caste profiling. The algorithm depends on the code, and the code depends on the attitude of code writers who are essentially privileged to have their biases. Just like colonialists who identified certain tribes as criminals in India, data-colonialists identify certain races and castes as criminals.

Recently, Harari affirmed that AI firms should face prison over the creation of fake humans as the proliferation of fake humans on social media could lead to a collapse in public trust and democracy. If you have watched ‘Dahaad,’ the Hindi language web series where one person assumes multiple identities to lure women and exploit their vulnerability, it becomes unimaginable how easy it would be to get deceived by counterfeit humans.

Another pitfall is the replacement of humans with robots will disproportionately affect the pink industry, where mundane tasks are more efficiently performed by robots, leading to the feminization of poverty and leaving the dream of gender equality to remain a dream.

The ultimate way forward is to humanize the humans and deprogram the robots with regressive attitudes as they are going to be our friends, partners, and assistants. A new code of AI ethics should be arrived at and implemented in letter and spirit at the earliest. What we need is not artificial, not patriarchal, not racial, not casteist, but Ethical and Equal Intelligence (EI).


Sumedha Makula is a passionate writer on gender, inclusivity, caste, technology, climate, and social justice, advocating liberty, equality, and fraternity. Sparking change through inspiring words. She blogs at:

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