The Hungarian language doesn’t have gendered pronouns so my most vicious pronoun battles are regarding whether my dog should be addressed as a person (she/ő) or an object (it/az).
But the moment Google Translate meets a non-gendered language the gender stereotypes that feed into its algorithm become visible to the naked eye.
When you type that someone “is a boss” in Hungarian into Google translate, the machine has to decide whether that someone is a he or a she in order to provide a translation into a gendered language – such as English or German. And the machine assumes that that boss must be a he. And the assistant? Definitely a she.
By the same logic, doctors are always men, nurses women. The clever one must be a he and the stupid is a she. He is rich and she is poor. She is unemployed and stays at home with the kids, doing the washing up and cooking dinner. He eats dinner. She is taking care of the kids while he is doing politics.
The experiment can be replicated in German and from Turkish.
Artificial intelligence will be only as smart as the data that feeds her. (I.e. “She is stupid.”)