This webtext is guided by a single question: What identities do we make available to people through the artificial intelligence (AI) agents we create? This question speaks to issues of representation, interaction, and identity in an emerging technological context. To answer it, a corpus of about 25 popular YouTube videos created by underrepresented people about Apple's voice assistant Siri are brought together together for the first time. Each video in this corpus either reimagines Siri to be more like the creator (to be black, Mexican, gay, lesbian, Muslim, Jewish, or Mormon), and/or critiques Siri for not understanding certain people's accents and for subtly taking on dominant identities.
I analyze the corpus videos in the form of two videos, each a little less than 20 minutes long, in order to adequately draw in the YouTubers' literal voices regarding AI and identity. In part 1, "Reimagining Inclusive AI," my focus is on what would be involved for Siri to take on a different identity, especially since Siri isn't traditionally embodied. The YouTube corpus shows these reimagined Siris adopting culturally specific knowledge, values, ways of interacting, and commercial activity. These provide a roadmap for developers to create intentionally identity-based voice-driven AI. In part 2, "Critiquing Identity Blindness," my analysis turns to how the YouTube corpus critiques today's Siri. This part finds three reasons why today's real Siri might read as occupying dominant identity categories (straight, white, nonreligious, and unaccented). These point to opportunities to "revise" Siri's self-presentation.
Overall, the project hopes to surface critiques and possibilities that, because they've been presented humorously on YouTube, might otherwise go undetected. At a larger level, this effort seeks to bring diverse representation and equity to our AI imaginary itself.