The National Science Foundation is spending money on something that is the complete opposite of science, making “gender sensitive computers”. So far it has cost US taxpayers $345,000 over the last 2 years and more money will be spent on this between now and 2019. Here is the stated goal of “gender sensitive computers”:
“The [Principal Investigator] PI’s long-term goal is to create theory to inform [Human-Computer Interaction] HCI design practices, to ensure the production of egalitarian designs that reflect all users’ values,” a grant for the project states. “In particular, she aims to create feminist theory for HCI, which she hopes will close the gap in women’s participation in computing.”“Previously, the PI has shown how approaches to designing for women are questionable when viewed in light of feminist theory,” the grant continued. “Feminist scholars argue that the lack of women in computing further discourages women from pursuing programming-related careers, and that women are also excluded because technologies created by men better address male needs.”The research will also explore “gender and technical identities” and the belief that computer system designs “alienate women.”
If the grant proposal was written a year later, I’m sure it would have included attacking #GamerGate as an example of this alleged conspiracy by male nerds to keep women out of the computing field. Another goal of this waste of money is, “The project will teach middle and high school girls to “create technologies in keeping with their gender identity.” In other words, we will end up with nothing but more vagina software. (Hopefully, said vagina software won’t be created after eating vagina bread and drinking vagina beer.)
What is not understood here is that computers don’t have a gender, just as all inanimate objects don’t have a gender. There is no such thing as a computer for women or a computer for men. A “gender sensitive computer” is a contradiction in terms. There is no conspiracy to make “male computers” or anti-female computers because such a thing is impossible. Computers are already “egalitarian” because a computer will do anything a user tells it to do, and the computer can neither discern any gender characteristics about its user nor understand the meaning of it. What is driving this so called “research” is not that computers are male or pro-male in any way. What the feminists involved in this project can’t stand is that computers don’t treat female users any different than male users. Like with so many other things such as government policy, what these women want is not equality but special privileges. The problem for them is that a computer does not know how to give special privileges for women. No matter what they do a computer will never give them what they want. That will be true even when artificial intelligence is developed.