Why is artificial intelligence so white? So male? So straight? So sexist? So opaque? So problematic?
Queer AI is a neural network trained on erotic literature, feminist and queer theory, and an ethics of embodiment. Queer AI’s first implementation takes the form of a subversive chatbot which refuses to follow the gendered scripts that currently exist for disruptive cyborgs and subservient fembots.
The volunteer-run project was seeking:
- To build community with like-minded queers and collaborators.
- Support to develop the intelligence of the chatbot.
- Sponsorship to help fund Google Cloud TPU training time.
With no budget or resources, the plan was simple: 1. Build a landing page to test interest and 2. Target very specific influencers and communities in order to get the word out.
Positioning and Brand Strategist, Visual Designer, Content Creator, Copywriter, Front-end Developer
Queer AI is a collaboration with Ben Lerchin.
A dedicated landing page + targeted outreach strategy = . Here is the break down, section by section.
Section 1. Created compelling graphics, clear headline with unique value proposition, supporting subheadline, and primary CTA to “get early access”:
Subheadline reads, "Queer AI chatbots are trained on erotic literature, feminist and queer theory, and an ethics of embodiment"
Section 2. Wrote a manifesto / call to self-identify:
Section 3. Explained complex neural net algorithms in fun animated SVG form:
Section 4. Added a secondary CTA for contributors:
Section 5. Leveraged humor and outrage:
'Dis/Re-claimer' reads, 'Queer AI is not interested in adding to the mega corpus of straight white dudes training neural nets with boring fembot fantasy tropes for the lonely machine love future full of rapey robot sex.'
Section 6. Delivered “social proof” / politicized the quest against heteronormativity by evoking Alan Turing:
Famous queer computer scientist Alan Turing, cracks the Enigma cipher that enables the Allies to defeat the Nazis during World War II. In 1952, Turing is prosecuted for "homosexual acts" and accepts chemical castration as an alternative to prison. In 1954, he commits suicide.
Section 7. Repeated primary CTA to close:
And all while using a palette of slightly “off” digital flesh tones that evoke pantyhose color mis-matches in all of their queerness.
When a Melbourne-based queer-identifying new media artist collective invited Queer AI to exhibit as part of Queertech.io, there was no product, just this landing page. But the organizers didn’t mind – the idea alone was powerful enough. And so Queer AI made its international art debut literally as a landing page.
Subsequently, Queer AI was hailed by self-proclaimed, cultural intelligence agency, Bubblegum Club as “the first queer network of its kind”.
A few month later, Elon Musk’s non-profit AI research company, OpenAI nearly awarded Queer AI a $47K+ opportunity to level up their Python skills and receive mentorship from world class AI engineers while further developing Queer AI. The project made it into the top 5% out of 500 applicants for OpenAI Scholars – so close!
The mailing list is slow growing, but the Queer AI audience is hardcore. So far over 120+ beta testers and a dozen subject matter contributors have volunteered for the project.
Queer AI continues to receive invitations to speak at universities and exhibit in relevant art + tech spaces.
- Finalist, OpenAI Scholars, OpenAI, San Francisco, CA (top 5% from 500+ applicants)
“CRYP2PTO:Technologies + Imaginaries for Self-Determination”, Centro Cultural de España, México City, MX (2018)
“Queertech.io”, RMIT Spare Room Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (2018)
“Queertech.io”, Midsumma Festival, Melbourne, Australia (2018)
“Queertech.io”, online exhibition (2018)
- “Queering the Algorithm”, Bubble Gum Club, Johannesburg, South Africa (Feb 2018)
- Over 120+ beta testers and a dozen subject matter contributors