Do we assign gender to inanimate objects because it is the only way we humans can relate to machines? I have been reading science fiction grand mast writer Jack Willliamson who wrote stories pertaining to artificial intelligence in the form of overtly helpful Humaniods. These artificial intelligent robotic machines have no gender. The premise of 1947 Williamson stories (“With Folded Hands”) is that the Humaniods obey and serve man to the point humans are imprisoned in kind of soft and fuzzy prisons. The humanoids go so far as deem sex can be a detriment to one’s health therefore regulate encounters for humans.
This is great article. I have been doing some research for panel discussion coming up in regards to machines perceived in hollywood as being the hero or villian. I have been reviewing the CBS show “Persons of Interest” for the discussion. In the show, the humans who work with the Machine recognize the machine as she and the antagonist Machine named Sentinel as he. In the show the female, is “good” (tho flawed) and male as “bad”. You mention that the Robots in Wall-E have gender but not sex. In the movie Colossus the Forbin Project one super computer (male) communicates and connects with the Soviet super computer Guardian. The communication between the two allows Colossus slowly taking over Guardian until there is only Colossus. Do film makers require genders so that each machine keeps to their own specific identity to keep the story telling simple?