He said, she said: Why guessing gender pronouns is a challenge for tech companies like Google

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  • Wyo_Jake Casper, WY
    Jan. 21, 2019 4:56 p.m.

    Eventually even names will no longer suggest gender. Names will simply be a combination of numbers and letters that are assigned by the government at birth.

  • The-Antidote Highland, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 4:26 p.m.

    We as a society put much to high of emphasis on gender. I appreciate the more enlightened elements in our society like Google, that understand that gender is just a social construct. And that they take great efforts in their programming to adjust grammar to be more inclusive. It's time to do away with old paradigms about the distinctions between the genders.

  • JLindow St. George, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 2:34 p.m.

    The anonymity of the internet brings out the worst in people, and AI's are like children, picking up what they are exposed to without consideration for moral right or wrong.

    It's better to have smart minds trying to direct AI's in the right direction than to let them naturally evolve into the computer equivalent of drunk racist uncles at Thanksgiving.

  • Joe Hilll Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 1:02 p.m.

    Articles like this really eliminate who reads the articles and who responds to just the headline. Teaching AI to determain proper pronouns or establishing acceptable gender neutral alternatives is a fascinating problem. I agree with others that finding gender neutral pronouns seems the more plausible alternative.

  • someguyaaron , 00
    Jan. 21, 2019 12:37 p.m.

    It seems to me that when we have found ourselves in a time when people are so sensitive that a subject such as this needs to be addressed is a bad place to be. No wonder people need counseling over any and everything.

  • county mom Austin, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    Jeclar 2006, that is true also. I prefer to address most people by their first name as well. That way gender doesn't really matter.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 12:05 p.m.

    county mom - Austin, UT
    I think the best solution would be to just use the pronoun "it". In the English language, the common non gender specific pronoun is "it".

    The pronouns 'they/them/their(s)' have been used for hundreds of years in a 'singular' sense to refer to a human when either gender is unknown, or not essential to the communication,

    Since 'you' is also used in both plural and singular, the use of 'they' in a singular sense should pose no problem.

    The article however has to do with 'helpful' suggestions while writing quickly, and getting the 'wrong' pronoun, then having to correct the helpful hint if in error, which is not particularly helpful.

    This occurs in real life when someone has a name which can be used by either sex, and the 'surprise' when the named person appears... in person.

  • westd Fresno, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 11:51 a.m.

    "Because AI is built and trained by humans, AI systems inherit the same challenges and biases in the use of language that its human creators and users experience," said Haynes.

    do we really want to get rid of the human element?

  • AS SD San Diego, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 11:24 a.m.

    @OldMain - yep, the founders are shaking their heads. Why are black people being free and not providing free labor to the country? Why have the Native Americans not been wiped out? Why are brown people being educated? So many questions.

  • oldbasketball Draper, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 10:57 a.m.


  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 10:46 a.m.

    Other than possibly consumerism, our country has no cultural norms, no glue to hold it together, America is disintegrating.

  • OldMain Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 10:43 a.m.

    Our forebears have got to be looking down from heaven, shaking their heads.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 9:37 a.m.

    @Chesser Messer

    Great suggestion, but I prefer altering the order as shown in my prior post.

    I find it much more descriptive, especially if one says it fast.


  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Jan. 21, 2019 9:37 a.m.

    Being one who is not a fan of political correctness, I am more concerned with accuracy than avoiding ruffling the feathers of those who are looking to get their feathers ruffled.

    Just as humans on Star Trek have been called "Ugly bags of mostly water", and "Carbon Units", why not refer to the genders as follows:

    Male = Y Chromosome Positive
    Female = Y Chromosome Negative

    No known medical procedure known to human kind can add or remove the Y chromosome.
    Based on facts. I don't see a problem.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 7:48 a.m.

    If they are omitting pronouns because the AI simply can't reliably determine, that is no big deal. If they are deliberately avoiding pronouns for fear of creating mock offense in some people, that is just silly.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Jan. 21, 2019 7:32 a.m.

    Apparently, the state of California is removing all references to gender from all school books. Great idea?πŸ€”

    I propose that we come up with a CONTRACTION to reference gender by using a combination of the words: She, He, It.

    I hope the state of California will adopt the use of whatever we settle on.

    Anyone want to tackle that?


  • county mom Austin, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 7:01 a.m.

    I think the best solution would be to just use the pronoun "it". In the English language, the common non gender specific pronoun is "it". When we are conversing with one another over anything that either has no gender, or we are not sure of the gender, we use "it". It's not that hard.

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2019 5:58 a.m.

    When the third person singular is not specific as to he/she/it, then simply translate or compose as he/she/it. It’s not that hard.