The Role of the Doll in the Feminine Posthuman

In March 2016, Microsoft released an Internet ‘chatterbot’ named Tay. Designed to replicate the language patterns of a 19-year-old American girl, Tay joined Twitter in a PR move that was meant to illustrate the promise of social learning in machines. Instead, Tay began to respond to deliberately offensive tweets, and within 24 hours Tay’s tweets, too, had become incendiary. In this talk, I will contend with the cultural anxieties and expectations that surround the feminine posthuman, and suggest important links between contemporary robotics and AI, gender, and the cultural history of the doll.

 Image credit: Jennifer Whitney

Image credit: Jennifer Whitney