Japan: Artificial servant girl sparks sexism row

A Japanese academic journal has drawn criticism for putting a broom-wielding female robot on its cover, it seems.

The cover of the January 2014 Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence journal

The illustration appears on the front of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence journal, and was submitted as part of a competition, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. It was created by a female artist to show how artificial intelligence could affect our daily lives.

Sputniko, another Japanese artist, described the image as "a gynoid robot with hollow eyes" that showed a lack of sensitivity to global gender issues.

"A black cleaning robot featured on the cover of a US academic journal would cause an uproar," she told the newspaper.

Academics and social media users also seem to think the journal sends the wrong message. Hideyuki Hirakawa, a professor at Osaka University, told Asahi Shimbun the cover was "inappropriate" for a scientific journal.

Defending the choice of cover image, the head of the journal's editorial board said it was the overwhelming choice of society members from the 100 entries submitted.

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