[2/28/17]  Self-described feminist Leah Fessler says there’s a problem with America’s newfound obsession with digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana: you can sexually harass them for weeks on end and they won’t fight back.

Fessler knows this because she engaged in what she deemed an “experiment:” she, herself, sexually harassed several different digital assistants for more than a month, peppering the poor robots with verbal abuse in order to demonstrate that “something must be done” to protect disembodied computer voices from wanton misogyny and Patriachal violence.

Each bot, Fessler found, “helps entrech sexist tropes through their passivity.” Being programmed as a digital assistant, apparently, makes them not just harmful to themselves, but to the whole of womankind.

She begins by admitting that most digital assistants can be programmed to speak in male voices, but that the sexists in Silicon Valley have discovered women’s voices make more money, so they’ve misogynistically pre-programmed the default setting to female.

She then goes on to methodically detail her robot harassment in a chart, cataloging various responses to her insults as she goes.

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