CNN Investigates Racism in...Robots?

August 1st, 2019 5:00 PM

On Thursday, a CNN article on “robot racism” took the internet by storm as critics challenged the claim. The article, co-authored by Caroline Klein and David Allan, dove into a study conducted by the Human Interface Technology Laboratory in New Zealand.

The study concluded that there was a bias against black robots, and that this was “a result of bias against African-Americans.” The researchers are worried that the robots that will occupy the workforce in the future will all be white.

It’s unclear as to why the “skin” color of the robot would be important. These researchers, in their infinite wisdom, seem to have forgotten that robots are manufactured. The robot’s appearance is irrelevant, and researcher’s complaints are laughable because no true discrimination has occurred.

The lead researcher, Christoph Bartneck, explained his reasoning to CNN:

Imagine a world in which all Barbie dolls are white. Imagine a world in which all the robots working in Africa or India are white. Further imagine that these robots take over roles that involve authority. Clearly, this would raise concerns about imperialism and white supremacy. Robots are not just machines, but they represent humans.

This is a ludicrous line of thinking and CNN’s legitimization of it is concerning. When white robots are the concern of the day, society has reached wokeness overload. Further, robots do not represent humans. Humans have a deep sense of morality and compassion, and robots simply don’t. It is eye-opening to see CNN giving a platform to someone who grants humanity to robots while the news organization is warry to provide the same platform to a conservative who would grant the same status to the unborn.

The authors also note that “some real-life humanoid robots are modeled after white celebrities, such as Audrey Hepburn and Scarlett Johansson.” This begs the question as to whether or not there would be an outcry of racism if the robots were more predominately modeled after minority celebrities. The answer: no, not only because having a robot Shaq or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be awesome, but because it doesn’t fit the media narrative that white supremacy is running rampant in America.

This study obviously has validity in pop-culture. Have you noticed how BB-8, the robot companion in the latest Star Wars trilogy, is white? Why is his evil alter ego, BB-9E, black? The answer: blatant and systemic racism! This disturbing trends has descended into youth culture as well. EVE, the deuteragonist in the Disney film WALL-E is white, but the villain robots in The Incredibles are black!

All jokes aside, this article may seem harmless, but the narratives pushed in it are reflective of a culture and a media dominated by liberal bias. The legitimization of these ideas combined with the unwillingness to hear conservative thought has led to an atmosphere of intimidation where people are afraid to have honest disagreements -- or build robots that are the wrong color.