The search for “sexy” content for virtual reality can generate some issues, if the avatar of a mischievous “virtual girl” seems to strenghten the stereotypes that see women like sexual objects.
A Chinese firm, iQiyi (Baidu group), which a few days ago launched a virtual assistant, Vivi, described as a “flirtatious secretary”, discovered it at its own expense.
iQiyi said it was sorry for Vivi
Contacted by Wall Street Journal trying to find out if the handsome avatar could strenghten sexual stereotypes against woman, iQiyi preferred a few hours later pulled Vivi offline specifying in a note that this was a “beta-testing version of the product designed to gather users’ feedback”.
Having noticed the issue raised by media, iQiyi already taken the product offline “for further modification” and apologized “for the concerns it might have raised”. The story of Vivi was pretty winding so far: already announced last March as a “girlfriend assistant powered by artificial intelligence technology”, in October was redesigned as a “flirtatious office secretary”.
From girlfriend to sexy virtual assistant
A development which the market liked, since Vivi had gotten almost unanimously positive reviews after its launch. Some users, for instance, liked the possibility that Vivi could “carry out sexy dances, with a charming shape, just for you”.
Vivi actually should have just lead users to look at the corporation’s content thanks to a video that they have seen before. Besides on request Vivi, scantily dressed, was able to flirt with the users who was wearing a VR headset, to perform sensual dances, provide information on wearther and on television programmes timetable or to to finish the missing pieces of a poem.
Poor Vivi, victim of her own success
All these were greatly appreciated by the first ones who tested it, but which looked like strenghten sexist stereotypes and ended up creating too may controversy Vivi may have been able to continue its beta-testing.
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