Why Are Too Few Females in Robotics? Could It Be the Robots?

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  • Add Robin Murphy to the list of Ladies in Robotics.



    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Great video. Thank you, Erco
    Carol Lynn Hazlett
    carolhaz391@gmail.com

    In the birthing of any machine there is that moment when it actually works. It is always fresh and astounding for me...............Red Whittaker

  • ercoerco Posts: 18,184
    edited October 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Well, maybe robotics & Pythagoras & right angles & geography/GPS aren't right for Emily... :)



    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • She isn't fit to weave baskets.
    Founder of Kinvert
    https://www.kinvert.com/
  • I know my wife would like to throw the whole business out with the trash. She says I spend too much time at it, and get flustered too often.
  • So much for Cal's "Women and machinery do not mix" argument.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Here is a video of a presentation I did to present the Parallax BOE-Bot to the SRS as our new workshop robot for teaching a robot class. Notice in one part of the video that there is a fire breathing dragon standing next to me. That dragon was made by an 11 year old girl! Her name was Anantika. She displayed it at Robothon also. The video is long because I do not know the finer points of editing yet. I am not a scientist but I do spend a lot of time and energy on trying to get more hobbyists both male and female into the obsession.


    Carol Lynn Hazlett
    carolhaz391@gmail.com

    In the birthing of any machine there is that moment when it actually works. It is always fresh and astounding for me...............Red Whittaker

  • Carol: Your passion comes through loud and clear. Glad to hear your husband is now a late bloomer robogeek too. Way to fly the Parallax colors, and your hair style is awesome!
    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Yes! What a great video!

    Carol tell your husband that I am a overall guy too!
    Whit+

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
  • Interesting. This semester I'm teaching multiple classes.

    In general my Engineering classes are 50% female while the robotics classes are 10%.

    Both were advertised the same, etc.

    Granted this is with the one school whose registration is finalized. Still interesting.
    Founder of Kinvert
    https://www.kinvert.com/
  • It is interesting isn't it...
    Whit+

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,354
    edited January 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think I found out why girls turn the page as soon as they read "robot".

    It's because of nonsense like Robot Wars. Which the BBC is proudly returning to our screens: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/robot-wars-returns

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it so that the "robots" in Robot Wars are not robots at all but rather remote controlled weapons and power tools?

    This gives everyone totally the wrong impression of the word "robot"

    Somebody famous once said "If you can tell what it is going to do next it's not a robot".

    Besides that it's just a mindless, non-constructive fighting match that may well appeal to young boys but I can't see many girls being into the idea.

    Edit: Mind you, I'm not sure why any smart nerdy/geek boys would be into Robot Wars either.








  • TtailspinTtailspin Posts: 1,321
    edited January 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think you are correct when you call it a remote controlled power tool competition. The show will not appeal to all for sure.

    I also think we should take more care to not perpetuate the stereotype that all girls don't like fights, or Robots.

    If we are trying to make things more equal for all, then maybe we should reverse this line,
    "...fighting match that may well appeal to young boys but I can't see many girls being into the idea."
    into this,
    "...fighting match that may well appeal to girls but I can't see many young boys being into the idea."

    Not picking on anyone, it was just an easy example of how we perpetuate Boys VS Girls.
    Sometimes I'm just wondering if we have etched the line a little to deep...
  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,354
    edited January 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ttailspin,

    I totally agree with you. Humans come in all shades of whatever spectrum you want to think of. Putting people into whatever category is fraught with problems.

    That's why I added " Mind you, I'm not sure why any smart nerdy/geek boys would be into Robot Wars either." to my post.

    The line is etched very deep. For example when I was a kid we were taught this little ditty:

    Girls are made of sugar and spice and all thing nice.
    Boys are made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.

    On the other hand I can't help thinking that actually giving birth to new humans might give you different priorities and a different outlook on life.







  • Ttailspin wrote: »

    I also think we should take more care to not perpetuate the stereotype that all girls don't like fights, or Robots.

    Uh yeah. I am pro fighting robots, or remote controlled metal flying bits /any day/
    Addie

    Whisker is a hardware and wetware hacker, and produces geeky content on a daily basis. Atdiy is a cardiovascular nurse by day and an electronics n00b at night. Together we're the Toymakers (Tymkrs) and we post videos/blogs on electronics, DIY projects, and whatever else we happen upon! Visit us at http://tymkrs.com, http://zombietech.tv, and http://firstspin.tv! Our projects are on https://www.reddit.com/r/Tymkrs/ and you can chat with us daily at #tymkrs!
  • Don't rule out mother nature in this discussion. Males and females are evolved to carry out very different roles perpetuating the species so are given different desires by nature. Women may be capable of almost anything but just not caring to do it. As for those large combat robots I don't like them because they are not robots and mislead a lot of people. The programming is a large and important part of robotics and is completely bypassed in those shows.
    Carol Lynn Hazlett
    carolhaz391@gmail.com

    In the birthing of any machine there is that moment when it actually works. It is always fresh and astounding for me...............Red Whittaker

  • Carol,

    Yep, my main gripe is that Robot Wars is nothing to do with robots. It's basically stupid.

    As for the male vs female capabilities and desires. I've started to conclude that classifying anyone as male or female is as daft as classifying them as intelligent or stupid, black or white, short or tall, young or old. And so on.

    We are all living on some point in the range of all those traits in many dimensions.

    Which is not going to stop me holding the door open for girls. Even if I have been spat for doing so in the past.

    It's very confusing.



  • I do not understand some women's hostility to common politeness from men. All my working carreer has been spent in traditionally male jobs, often I was the only female in the crew. So I found myself having to earn the respect of the men around me but I never once felt insulted by somebody opening a door or lifting a heavy object for me. I have never understood the mind set of what my friends refer to as feminazis. I also never had much trouble in earning respect from my co-workers.
    Carol Lynn Hazlett
    carolhaz391@gmail.com

    In the birthing of any machine there is that moment when it actually works. It is always fresh and astounding for me...............Red Whittaker

  • Don't tell Agent KK that girls can't do robots! Read the copy on the Youtube page.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • At a former job, one coworker defined a robot as a mechanism that could respond to its environment to perform a series of tasks. To which, another coworker responded, "so, you are saying that my toilet is a robot?"

    Defining what is a robot and how it may be applied, is really the first step towards building interest. An enlightening study into public perception is to ask people the open-ended question, "if we had a robot, then what do you think it should be able to do?" My wife - who is used to me asking such questions - responds with functions that are really task automation, like a Roomba that can climb stairs. Once she sees value, she becomes engaged.
  • ercoerco Posts: 18,184
    edited February 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Add Sarah's name to the list too.

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • Several ladies of robotics already mentioned here are on this list: http://www.bestmastersdegrees.com/30-most-innovative-women-professors-alive-today

    Including space/aviation/engineering/computer tech, see # 29,23,22,19, 17, 15,14,12,9,8,6,5

    #23 makes me want to go back to school. :)

    "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • erco wrote: »
    Several ladies of robotics already mentioned here are on this list: http://www.bestmastersdegrees.com/30-most-innovative-women-professors-alive-today

    Including space/aviation/engineering/computer tech, see # 29,23,22,19, 17, 15,14,12,9,8,6,5

    #23 makes me want to go back to school. :)

    She is not alone in making me want to go back to school.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • hatallica
    ..one coworker defined a robot as a mechanism that could respond to its environment to perform a series of tasks. To which, another coworker responded, "so, you are saying that my toilet is a robot?"
    I think the whole idea is worse than that.

    A robot is nothing without it's "brain", the computer that directs it.

    A human being is nothing without it's brain. That gloop of cells that directs it.

    So the question is can a man made computer be the equivalent of a human brain?

    Allen Turing would say "yes".

    Others say "no" although the reasons why they do are not so clear.

    Me, I think the humble light switch demonstrates intelligence. It knows when I give the "on" command, it knows when I give the "off" command. It knows a language at that level. It remembers what I told it last.

    Light switch, human brain, what is the difference?
  • "When you make a thing, a thing that is new, it is so complicated making it that it is bound to be ugly. But those that make it after you, they don’t have to worry about making it. And they can make it pretty, and so everybody can like it when others make it after you."

    - Pablo Picasso
  • I feel like that when my husband is driving.
    Carol Lynn Hazlett
    carolhaz391@gmail.com

    In the birthing of any machine there is that moment when it actually works. It is always fresh and astounding for me...............Red Whittaker

  • Heater. wrote: »
    . . .[snip]. .
    Light switch, human brain, what is the difference?
    .
    Current carrying capacity?
    .
  • FireNWater,
    Current carrying capacity?
    Good point.

    I was of course looking at this from a logical perspective rather than a physical one. A light switch has inputs and outputs. It understands a language syntax of some kind. It has memory.

    However....It occurred to me some years ago that if you want to build an intelligent thing, then perhaps the way evolution has built the human brain is the most optimal, efficient way to do it.

    Perhaps all our attempts to reproduce human style intelligence are doomed by considerations of size an power consumption until we use the same biology to do it.


  • Gosh, more and more @Heater. makes sense to me. He has a good point there that woman may have a different view on robotics, because they can create real living human beings, instead of just simple robots.

    Not so interesting, the robotic stuff, then.

    But I think a main part of it is gender specific education, and that seems to diminish in the last decades. I personally know a couple of female truck drivers, welders, car mechanics and so on.

    Actually the open pit mines with them really big yellow CAT trucks are actively searching for female driver for the big as a house trucks. Less wear, with female drivers, somehow, statistically.

    Lately I am watching (mostly SF) movies out of the 60's and 70's in YouTube. Chewing Gum for the brain as Hitchcock named it. The way women where supposed to be and behave then and now is quite a eminent sign of change in the right direction.

    Enjoy!

    Mike
    I am just another Code Monkey.

    A determined coder can write COBOL programs in any language. -- Author unknown.

    The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this post are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.
  • Women: Know Your Limits!

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