Have you noticed that robots tend to be white? (Guess where this is heading)

Have you noticed that robots tend to be white? (Guess where this is heading)

At Tuesday night’s debate, presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren not only accused Donald Trump of being a racist but of having “advanced” several forms of racism. Here she is:

We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism. … We live in a country now where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism.

Wow, who knew? There are evidently more forms of racism than there are Baskin-Robbins flavors.

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

But the list of racism types doesn’t stop with Warren’s four. There is also what might be termed “technological racism.” What is it? CNN explains:

Have you ever noticed the popularity of white robots?

You see them in films like Will Smith’s “I, Robot” and Eve from “Wall-E.” Real-life examples include Honda’s Asimo, UBTECH’s Walker, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, and even NASA’s Valkyrie robot. All made of shiny white material. And some real-life humanoid robots are modeled after white celebrities, such as Audrey Hepburn and Scarlett Johansson.

The reason for these shades of technological white may be racism, according to new research.

The article goes on to cite a study by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand that finds that people tend to ascribe race to robots that resemble humans physically and — it follows – assign stereotypes based on that race. Is the robot lazy? Does it like watermelon?

The study doesn’t actually address those questions, but lead researcher Christoph Bartneck is quoted as saying, “The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans. It is amazing to see how people who had no prior interaction with robots show racial bias towards them.”

From the study:

If robots are supposed to function as teachers, friends, or carers, for instance, then it will be a serious problem if all of these roles are only ever occupied by robots that are racialized as White.

There is no mention of white robots that self-identify as black.

Conservative commentator John Hayward whimsically predicts:

LU Staff

LU Staff

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