Google Autofill Experiment Is Truly Horrifying

11/01/2013 11:46 am ET

Not convinced that sexism exists? Try a simple Google search.

In a powerful video project, Brown University student Emma Hall asked some of her classmates to read out statements generated by Google autofill searches for phrases like "women want" and "men should." Some of the examples? "Women want money" and "men should be able to hit women."

Hall's project is unrelated to a recent UN Women poster campaign where Google searches of "women need to" and "women can't" displayed some extremely worrying results, for example "women need to know their place." It's worth noting that both projects relied mainly on negative search phrases -- a quick search for "women can" and "women will" yielded much more encouraging results -- "women will rule the world," to name one. Nevertheless, Hall's video shows us that troubling beliefs about gender abound.

And as Hall says in the video, “The first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one.”

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