#BugsR4Girls and AI Gaydar

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#BugsR4Girls and AI Gaydar


  Last updated October 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm


Bugs are for girls

Sophia Spencer is 8 years old and has just published her first scientific paper.

One of our favourite hashtags from 2016 was #bugsR4girls – it started when a young girl was being bullied by her peers for her love for bugs. Her mother reached out to the Entomological Society of Canada for advice and encouragement for her daughter. This society consequently shared the letter on Twitter and #BugsR4girls was born. What was unexpected the amount of love and encouragement for Sophia from all over the world. The hashtags showed countless images of female entomologists out in the field and doing their thing with bugs unashamedly.

Now, just over a year later, Sophia is the junior author on a paper that breaks down how the #BugsR4Girls hashtag contributed to science communication and public perception of entomology. It included a whole section called “Outcomes and Benefits for Sophia, in Her Own Words” in which she outlines her reaction to the whole thing.

The paper was published in Annals of the Entomological Society of America – read more via Science Alert.

Artificial Intelligence has pretty dodgy gaydar

Researchers from Stanford University claim they have made a neural network (a type of artificial intelligence) that can more accurately predict a person’s sexual orientation than another person can.

It had a success rate of 81 percent for men and 74 per cent for women, and the researchers claim that it picks up subtle features that people miss. If this idea unsettles you, you’re not alone – both the research method and ethics have been called into question. The AI was only exposed to online dating profile pictures of Caucasian people between 18 and 40 – hardly a representative sample set of the spectrum of human experience and sexuality.

LGBTQI groups have not been shy about pointing out that in the wrong hands this sort of tool could be one of oppression, and that the whole project is based on the premise of heteronormativity.

Find out way more over at The Conversation.

Crush of the Week: Dr Marie-Claire King

Read about her amazing story, as written by her, on Huffington Post.

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