Opinion: Women Are Not Safe Even In The Virtual World! Portrayal Of Women In The Artificial Intelligence Needs To Be Changed!


Women are not safe in any part of the world. Every day we watch, listen to, and read the news of women facing multiple problems taking from sexual assault to domestic violence, the disparity in payment, etc. In multimedia, too women are at times objectified. Today we are living in the era where social media and above that the latest technological advancements like artificial intelligence, and virtual reality play a major role in influencing the masses.

Unfortunately, on such widely used platforms women are not safe and are showcased in a disrespectful manner. Recently, a woman has alleged that she faced a sexual assault virtually by an anonymous person in Horizon’s World virtual reality space by Meta owned by Mark Zuckerberg. The lady stated that when she used Oculus virtual-reality headset, her avatar was seen raped in the virtual space.

As per the reports published by a nonprofit advocacy group SumOfUs, users asked the woman researcher to join a private party on Horizon World in the first week of May. Later, users in the same room asked her to disable one of the setting options that restrained others from getting closer to within 4 feet of her. the video linked to the same report shows, a male avatar coming very close to her, while another male avatar is seen standing nearby and watching. Then the two avatars are seen passing the bottle that appears to be alcohol.

Further, as per the report shared by the SumOfUs states, “The woman researcher-led into a private room at a party where she was raped by a user who kept telling her to turn around so he could do it from behind while users outside the window could see — all while another user in the room watched and passed around a vodka bottle.”

Since it was virtual reality, The researcher mentioned that her controller vibrated when the male avatars touched her, which was because of a physical sensation that was a result of what she was experiencing online. This incident turned out to be a very important finding.

This shocking incident put across the point that women are not safe in the virtual world as well. This has to be stopped and changed because it influences the minds of the people and can result in something happening worst in reality. There need to be guidelines to follow or a watchdog for virtual reality and artificial intelligence to cease such shameful acts. Several such incidents have taken place in the past but no action is taken yet!

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Varsha Mehata

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