Battle of the Sexes: Applications of Chatbots and Gender Differences

Battle of the Sexes: Applications of Chatbots and Gender Differences

Like most things, it’s no surprise that men and women use tech differently. Each has different intentions when it comes to how and why they interact with a device. Gender differences in technology use apply to chatbots too, of course. Some applications of chatbots appeal more to men than women, and each sex behaves differently when speaking to a bot. Curious to know more? Let’s take a look at this battle of the sexes in how men and women use bots differently.

Applications of Chatbots Are Most Enjoyed by Men

We know that men are more likely to adopt new and novel technologies, while women tend to use technology that’s proven itself to be valuable to their needs. Women have little tolerance for bad interfaces or adopting new tech just for the sake of it. It should be no surprise, then, that men are more optimistic when it comes to using chatbots to complete complex tasks. This includes tasks like travel bookings or making a purchase. Women, meanwhile, are more optimistic about accomplishing smaller, simpler tasks, like calling up basic information; chatbots haven’t yet proven to them their ability to perform sophisticated tasks.

Considering these gender differences in technology use, we can extrapolate a few key takeaways. First, applications of chatbots that focus on a female demographic need to take great care in making an up-front value proposition. Onboarding is essential for any chatbot. However, women tend to be more skeptical about adopting new technologies than men. That’s why you may want to try a little harder to ensure new users understand the value your bot delivers. If your bot offers more complex tasks, be sure to walk the user through an example. This not only alerts them to the bot’s abilities, but ensures their first experience handling a complex task is a good one.

Most Sexually Explicit Queries Come from Men

Teenagers and lonely men are more likely to turn to their digital assistants and chatbots for companionship—sometimes with sexually-charged language or abusive queries. A surprising 2.5% of images sent to chatbots are too risqué for work, and those who send such an image are likely to send many more. The issue of men abusing chatbots is an important social problem for botmakers to consider. Since many bots are gendered—a handful of the biggest assistants, Cortana, Siri and Alexa are all artificial intelligence females—some see them as negatively reinforcing gender roles, particularly that of the subservient girlfriend or female assistant. The data behind men abusing their bots would seem to support this.

Here’s what it means to you: anticipate inappropriate comments no matter your chatbot’s gender, but pay special care if your bot presents itself as an artificial intelligence female. All bots should have built-in responses that are ready to shut down inappropriate comments. Even a bot that presents as male to a predominantly male audience can call out sexist language when having “guy talk” with its users. As bots become more realistic (and as people begin to question the ethical treatment of bots and AI), the issue of artificial intelligence and gender will become more essential for botmakers to consider.

Quick Facts on Gender Differences in Technology Use with Virtual Assistants

That’s not all when it comes to artificial intelligence and gender differences. By looking at the way men and women use Alexa devices and the Google Home differently, we can get a sense of what applications of chatbots are important to each. When using a digital home assistant, men are more likely to…

  • Use home automation features
  • Look up sports scores
  • Get news from their device

Meanwhile, women are more likely to…

  • Get weather updates
  • Seek out information
  • Stream music

These insights seem to fall in line with what we discussed earlier. Men are quick to adopt technology within a whole ecosystem (as with the example of home automation). While women perhaps seek more practical uses that can be called upon in their day-to-day lives (weather forecasts, quick informational queries). Your bot can tailor to these themes appropriately to better target its audience.

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