News & Politics

White Robots Are Racist or Something

White Robots Are Racist or Something
(Image via Pixabay)

I used to like robots. I thought it was pretty cool to assign menial tasks to machines, like cooking food and vacuuming carpets and deciding which TV show I should watch next. I even liked these crazy new robots they’re building now that can run and jump and climb things. Because what could be a more awesome way to die?

But that’s all over. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, and now I realize that I need to check my privilege. Robots are bad for the same reason I’m bad: We’re white.

Caroline Klein and David Allan, CNN:

Have you ever noticed the popularity of white robots?

You see them in films like Will Smith’s “I, Robot” and Eve from “Wall-E.” Real-life examples include Honda’s Asimo, UBTECH’s Walker, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, and even NASA’s Valkyrie robot…

“Robots And Racism,” a study conducted by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) and published by the country’s University of Canterbury, suggests people perceive physically human-like robots to have a race and therefore apply racial stereotypes to white and black robots…

“The bias against black robots is a result of bias against African-Americans,” lead researcher Christoph Bartneck explained to The Next Web. He told CNN, “It is amazing to see how people who had no prior interaction with robots show racial bias towards them.”

It makes sense when you don’t think about it. Black robots are always the bad guys, like HAL 9000 and Darth Vader and Barack Obama.* Before Will Smith, the bad guys were the only ones who dressed in black, remember that. The villain in a western always wears a hat that’s which color? You guessed it.

And what about the show Mr. Robot? The main guy is Egyptian or Middle-Eastern or whatever, but his dad is Christian Slater. A white guy! What’s not racist about that?

From now on, all robots should be black. The only way to stop racism is to make everything racist. And the more you deny being a racist, the more racist you are. Which is racist.

You racist.

*Okay, okay, so he’s not a robot. He’s just a guy in a black suit of armor.

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