Japan: Artificial servant girl sparks sexism row

  • 10 January 2014

A Japanese academic journal has drawn criticism for putting a broom-wielding female robot on its cover, it seems.

The illustration appears on the front of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence journal, and was submitted as part of a competition, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. It was created by a female artist to show how artificial intelligence could affect our daily lives.

Sputniko, another Japanese artist, described the image as "a gynoid robot with hollow eyes" that showed a lack of sensitivity to global gender issues.

"A black cleaning robot featured on the cover of a US academic journal would cause an uproar," she told the newspaper.

Academics and social media users also seem to think the journal sends the wrong message. Hideyuki Hirakawa, a professor at Osaka University, told Asahi Shimbun the cover was "inappropriate" for a scientific journal.

Defending the choice of cover image, the head of the journal's editorial board said it was the overwhelming choice of society members from the 100 entries submitted.

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