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The Misgendering Machines

The Misgendering Machines Automatic Gender Recognition (AGR) is a subfield of facial recognition that aims to algorithmically identify the gender of individuals from photographs or videos. In wider society the technology has proposed applications in physical access control, data analytics and advertising. Within academia, it is already used in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to analyse social media usage. Given the long-running critiques of HCI for failing to consider and include transgender (trans) perspectives in research, and the potential implications of AGR for trans people if deployed, I sought to understand how AGR and HCI understand the term "gender", and how HCI describes and deploys gender recognition technology. Using a content analysis of papers from both fields, I show that AGR consistently operationalises gender in a trans-exclusive way, and consequently carries disproportionate risk for trans people subject to it. In addition, I use the dearth of discussion of this in HCI papers that apply AGR to discuss how HCI operationalises gender, and the implications that this has for the field's research. I conclude with recommendations for alternatives to AGR, and some ideas for how HCI can work towards a more effective and trans-inclusive treatment of gender. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction Association for Computing Machinery

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 ACM
eISSN
2573-0142
DOI
10.1145/3274357
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Automatic Gender Recognition (AGR) is a subfield of facial recognition that aims to algorithmically identify the gender of individuals from photographs or videos. In wider society the technology has proposed applications in physical access control, data analytics and advertising. Within academia, it is already used in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to analyse social media usage. Given the long-running critiques of HCI for failing to consider and include transgender (trans) perspectives in research, and the potential implications of AGR for trans people if deployed, I sought to understand how AGR and HCI understand the term "gender", and how HCI describes and deploys gender recognition technology. Using a content analysis of papers from both fields, I show that AGR consistently operationalises gender in a trans-exclusive way, and consequently carries disproportionate risk for trans people subject to it. In addition, I use the dearth of discussion of this in HCI papers that apply AGR to discuss how HCI operationalises gender, and the implications that this has for the field's research. I conclude with recommendations for alternatives to AGR, and some ideas for how HCI can work towards a more effective and trans-inclusive treatment of gender.

Journal

Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer InteractionAssociation for Computing Machinery

Published: Nov 1, 2018

Keywords: automatic gender recognition

References