The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot (Paperback)

The Smart Wife: Why Siri, Alexa, and Other Smart Home Devices Need a Feminist Reboot Cover Image
$19.95
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Sep 18 12:18pm
(POLITICS/SOCIOLOGY)

Description


The life and times of the Smart Wife--feminized digital assistants who are friendly and sometimes flirty, occasionally glitchy but perpetually available.

Meet the Smart Wife--at your service, an eclectic collection of feminized AI, robotic, and smart devices. This digital assistant is friendly and sometimes flirty, docile and efficient, occasionally glitchy but perpetually available. She might go by Siri, or Alexa, or inhabit Google Home. She can keep us company, order groceries, vacuum the floor, turn out the lights. A Japanese digital voice assistant--a virtual anime hologram named Hikari Azuma--sends her master helpful messages during the day; an American sexbot named Roxxxy takes on other kinds of household chores. In The Smart Wife, Yolande Strengers and Jenny Kennedy examine the emergence of digital devices that carry out wifework--domestic responsibilities that have traditionally fallen to (human) wives. They show that the principal prototype for these virtual helpers--designed in male-dominated industries--is the 1950s housewife: white, middle class, heteronormative, and nurturing, with a spick-and-span home. It's time, they say, to give the Smart Wife a reboot.

What's wrong with preferring domestic assistants with feminine personalities? We like our assistants to conform to gender stereotypes--so what? For one thing, Strengers and Kennedy remind us, the design of gendered devices re-inscribes those outdated and unfounded stereotypes. Advanced technology is taking us backwards on gender equity. Strengers and Kennedy offer a Smart Wife manifesta, proposing a rebooted Smart Wife that would promote a revaluing of femininity in society in all her glorious diversity.

About the Author


Yolande Strengers is Associate Professor of Digital Technology and Society in the Emerging Technologies Research Lab at Monash University, Melbourne. Jenny Kennedy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Melbourne.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780262542791
ISBN-10: 026254279X
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication Date: August 31st, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English