Regarding the “internet of things” issue, integrating women and gender in ICT and overcoming the gender gap in ICT education is much more than just a way to boost the functioning of Metcalf’s law, that the more people are connected, the higher is the value produced by a network. The “things” and “objects” connected among themselves and to the net should be designed and programmed to take into account the physical, psychological and social characteristics of the gendered user. It also becomes an imperative to be able to forecast the effects of the Internet of Things on gender relations, as both the possibilities of dominance and control and of empowerment and liberation will increase with the new technologies.

In the robotics field, it is important to take into account that women and men differ in their needs for and experience with technology. […] Thus, it is important to include both women and men in technology design. Analysing sex and gender as well as including both women and men users in technology development is a positive action that can lead to better designs and improve marketability of products. […] Through participatory research and design with both the elderly and their caregivers, designers are gaining key insights for developing assistive products that are useful to a broad user base. Involving users and stakeholders in the design process enhances outcomes. Building machines based on gender analysis will be important for the development of the next generation of assistive technology1.

Robotics: Persuasive Robotics: The Influence of Robot Gender on Human Behavior

Persuasive Robotics is the study of persuasion as it applies to human-robot interaction (HRI). Persuasion can be generally defined as an attempt to change another’s beliefs or behavior. The act of influencing others is fundamental to nearly every type of social interaction. Any agent desiring to seamlessly operate in a social manner will need to incorporate this type of core human behavior. As in human interaction, myriad aspects of a humanoid robot’s appearance and behavior can significantly alter its persuasiveness – this work will focus on one particular factor: gender. In the current study, run at the Museum of Science in Boston, subjects interacted with a humanoid robot whose gender was varied. After a short interaction and persuasive appeal, subjects responded to a donation request made by the robot, and subsequently completed a post-study questionnaire. Findings showed that men were more likely to donate money to the female robot, while women showed little preference. Subjects also tended to rate the robot of the opposite sex as more credible, trustworthy, and engaging. In the case of trust and engagement the effect was much stronger between male subjects and the female robot. These results demonstrate the importance of considering robot and human gender in the design of HRI.

Source: Mikey Siegel, Cynthia Breazeal, and Michael I. Norton. 2009. Persuasive Robotics: The influence of robot gender on human behavior. Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009. IROS 2009. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on. (pp. 2563-2568).

  • 1. Source: H2020-AG-GENDER (2015), pp. 11-12