Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Pesky Vagina: Artificial Intelligence Gets It Wrong

So, like any other bloggers, I check to see who is visiting and linking to my blog.  Imagine my surprise when I came across genderanalyzer.com.  Of course My curiosity was peeked and I had to go check it out.  It seems that from analyzing the written material a blog, it can determine the sex of the author.  Nothing like engaging in a little essenntialism.  You would think the name alone would be enough to clue in that a woman is writing....

image

Well they may be 80% certain, but my vagina is 100% certain that I am a woman.  Once again more proof that gender and how we understand it is strictly determined by social construction.

20 comments:

frau sally benz said...

Well, it was 92% sure I was a man, so maybe they took the name of your blog a little bit into account.

Sites like these always make me wonder what they use as their gendered criteria. Is it because of the content? The reading level? I realize it's completely trivial, but curiosity always gets the best of me.

Erika said...

Pretty sure it takes into account certain words and how often they show up.

However, I just wanted to note that genitals *do not* automatically determine gender! Trans women with penises are still women, trans men with vaginas are still men, and genderqueers with any sort of genitals are still genderqueer.

Renee said...

@Ericka as a cisgendered woman my genitals constitute my sex identity. I am speaking for my experience and no one elses.

Maritzia said...

Yep, all three of my blogs appear to have been written by a man (with between 64 and 86% authority).

*shakes head sadly* Who actually comes up with this shit.

Sandalstraps said...

Has anyone seen this thing say that a blog was written by a woman?

It got my gender right, but it said that my wife Sami is a man. Maybe that's why I'm so pissed about Prop 8!

Renee said...

@Sandlestraps...I tried a few blogs and finally got one for a woman.

We guess http://www.feministing.com/ is written by a woman (55%), however it's quite gender neutral.

randombabble.com said...

It is 68% sure my blog is written by a man.

Maybe I swear too much. ;)

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Interesting, my main blog is gender neutral (56% male) while my blogs where I feature other artists and, the words are mostly not my own are 72-76% female. And, I have no point...kinda like the generator. It was a fun break from teaching math though! :)

julie said...

Oh, this is funny. They don't deserve your post about them.

T. R Xands said...

Bahaha, mine's 60% male & gender neutral. Eh, in a way it's...kinda correct.

Even though it's silly, this paragraph at the bottom of the results page was interesting:

...Behind the scene, a text classifier hosted over at uClassify.com has been trained on blogs written by men and women. In our lab it seems to works pretty well, we want to see how it performs on the web! We hope you like it!

Trained on blogs written by men and women. Huh. Go figure I guess...

randombabble.com said...

Compleeeeetely off topic, but I have given you an award, my dear, to be picked up at my place, if you will indulge me.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty crazy. I think every blog I tried that's written by a woman came out as male or gender neutral. Most random sites and blogs came out male/neutral too.

That only changed when I tried some MRA sites. Bizarly mrausa.net shows up as 100% written by a woman...

Renee said...

@Anon that is beyond bizarre and enough to just make me snort. Can you imagine the displeasure that would would bring to the mehnz there?

lsmsrbls said...

Wow. We have strong indicators that (my blog) is written by a man (99%).

I am a woman.

polerin said...

70% female on my lj. I'm betting that it's off of specific sentence structures and things like word length/etc, and I'd be very interested in seeing what the blogs were used to train the back end, and how the various factors are weighted in the algorithm.

**shrugs**

whatsername said...

Yah it told me it was 75% sure I was male. :P

Hugh said...

I'd like to know how it works too. I don't think it could use specific words because they would vary more with topic than with gender(unless it used pronouns or things which would be independent of topic). That said, given how wildly inaccurate it is I guess it *could* be trying that.

I notice too that it claims to be 55% accurate based on user feedback, making it roughly as effective as flipping a coin.

FeministGal said...

You would think my name (feministGAL) would give it away, but nope! haha

"We guess http://www.feministgal.blogspot.com is written by a man (57%), however it's quite gender neutral."

Liberty&Justice said...

It said my blog was 82% male, even thought my blog says "herself" in it.

I think that maybe it does it randomly as a social commentary that gender distinction really shouldn't matter because gender is a social construction.

Maybe the creators of the site want to show that the people who use the "genderanalyzer" serioulsy are actually foolish.

That is my optimistic take on the issue.

polerin said...

liberty: Reminds me of someone in IRC that refuses to state hir gender when everyone else is pressed. Zie states that it's an attempt to make people think beyond gender, and it really is fun to watch people's minds break about that.