Gendered AI: Subservience and free will

Where we are: To talk about how sci-fi AI attributes correlate, we first have to understand how their attributes are distributed.  In the first distribution post, I presented the foundational distributions for sex and gender presentation across sci-fi AI. Today we’ll discuss subservience and free will.

As always, you can read the Gendered AI posts in order or check out the source data for more information.

Subservience/Free will

The degree of free-willedness is tagged as subservience.

  • The majority of AIs are free-willed, that is, answerable only to their own conscience. Ultron from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is free-willed.
  • A large proportion answer to some master, but enjoy a wide berth in interpreting instructions, and can formulate new plans to achieve goals. There are tagged improvisational obedience. Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of these.
  • A few are tagged as slavish obedience, and will take no action unless ordered to do so and will only take the action instructed. Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet is slavishly obedient.
  • A small minority are bound to a master against their will. These characters are tagged with reluctant obedience. Ava from Ex Machina was only reluctantly obedient, and took great pains to escape.

Reinforcing the notion that from embodiment, the subservience of AI is the exception for these characters. Mostly they are as free-willed as people are. (Insert determinist counter-argument here.)

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