Equality Technologies

  • Luisa Charles
  • Helena Charles

Equality technologies is a design fiction exploring relationships between gender and technology, finding tongue-in-cheek solutions to common experiences of everyday sexism. It was exhibited at the Women in Tech Leadership conference on 29th March, part of the Inclusive Tech Alliance. Equality Technologies is based on theories outlined in the Xenofeminist manifesto, and is currently in the conceptual stage, awaiting funding to begin prototyping.

Cut Short is a 3D printed, AI powered ornament that monitors the distribution of conversation between male and female voices, designed for use in meeting rooms and formal group settings. Based on data from over 10,000 voices, Cut Short analyses the speed, pitch, and patterns of speech to recognise the genders of each distinct voice in the room. If a conversation starts becoming too male-dominated compared to the ratio of genders in the room, it slowly begins changing colour from white to red. If the entire model becomes red (appearing hot-headed), it emits a small beeping noise as a prompt to invite the women present to contribute to the discourse.
Tweet and Desist is an artificially intelligent twitter plug-in that polices violent, sexist, and abusive tweets. It screens all tweets and private messages directed at your account, and removes any with sexist comments and violent threats before you get a notification. Sending abusive tweets towards an account with Tweet and Desist activated also triggers a piece of malware to be sent to the device, immediately disabling their computer or smart phone, and cataloguing their IP address for the police, as well as sending an automatic complaint to twitter asking to disable their account.
Auto-correct yourself is a downloadable plug-in for word processors and email that suggests alternative words when it detects gendered language. Working in a similar way to a spell-checker, Auto-correct yourself underlines unnecessary gendered language such as job titles (policeman, suggested to become police officer), the use of ‘he/him’ for unnamed persons, and non-inclusive terms (synthetic rather than man-made, moderator instead of chairman). It uses a drop down menu system to allow you to choose a replacement, or has the option to automatically correct your text.