Mobility Humanities Colloquium #23
2021/09/15 – Technology and Gender: When Machines Become Women
Soyeon Lim (Sookmyung Women’s University)
Date: 2021/09/15 (Wednesday) 15:00
Place: Konkuk University New Millennium Hall #1106
Professor Soyeon Lim, the speaker of the Colloquium, is a research professor at Sookmyung Women’s University Research Institute of Humanities. She received her Ph.D. in Science and Technology from Seoul National University through the History of Science and Philosophy of Science Interdisciplinary Program. Her interests include sociology of science and technology, technology and gender, with a focus on material and machine, and hate. She is the author of multiple books including 《The Frontier of Thought in the 21st Century》,《Posthumanism and the Transformation of Civilization》, and《Living as a Cyborg》and published research papers entitled 《Does Feminism Change Science? Feminist Science, Gender Innovation, Feminist Science Studies》 and 《Science and Technology and Studying Women》.
In the lecture, Professor Soyeon Lim examined the relationship between technology and gender, explaining scientifically and culturally why the machine had a female voice. Providing an example of recorded announcements in a female voice in buses which started in the 1980s, Professior Lim argued that “mechanical female voices serve as ‘poor substitutes’ for women, instrumentalizing women and reinforcing gender stereotypes.” She also pointed out the emerging gender issues of gender stereotypes reinforced by mechanical female voices being friendly all the time in digital technology and artificial intelligence. Finally, she emphasized that “what matters more is what the woman in the machine looks like rather than the fact that the woman is in the machine,” and therefore, we need to “study gender in machine to study gender in human.”