Gender Choices of Conversational Agent: How Today’s Practice Can Shape Tomorrow’s Values

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When creating conversational agents, designers have to make decisions about the way the agents present themselves. In this position paper, we identify and synthesize ethical dilemmas that conversational interface designers and researchers face around gender of conversational agents. First, we identify three layers that cause tension in designing conversational agents’ gender: (i) interactional qualities; (ii) goal-orientation; and (iii) societal issues. We then argue that conversational agent designers and re- searchers can navigate this problem space by comparing two ethical frameworks: a utilitarian perspective and a dialogical ethics perspective. Finally, we argue that dialogical ethics can be a balanced, ethical lens that can help conversational agent designers and researchers make design decisions about the gender of an agent
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 22 : CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsDavid A. Shamma, Steven Drukcer, Simone Barbosa, Cliff Lampe, Caroline Appert, Julie Williamson, Koji Yatani
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6819-3
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Gender-inclusive
  • Dialogical ethics
  • Design ethics

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