An academic society has apologized for using an illustration of a cleaning woman with a cable in her back to depict the idea of artificial intelligence on the front cover of its journal.
The Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence (JSAI) said that it was hoping to make the concept of “jinkou chinou” (artificial intelligence) more appealing to potential readers.
The illustration on the front of the journal’s first edition of the year was a departure for the society. It replaced dense tracts of text and complicated diagrams that have adorned the cover for the last few decades.
The drawing depicted an attractive, doe-eyed young woman holding a sweeping brush and with a thick cable plugged into her back.
A red-faced JSAI admitted Thursday the attempt to popularize the small-circulation magazine had misfired and apologized for any offense that it had caused.
“The front-cover design is not intended to discriminate against women,” the group said in a statement on its website. But the design “gave . . . room for the interpretation that women should clean,” it said.
“We deeply regret that as a public academic group this matter was not considered more carefully,” said the statement issued under the names of the journal’s chief editor and his deputy, both of whom are scientists.
The group noted, however, that artificial intelligence is not an easy concept to depict as it has no physical form.
“The appearance of any future robot that uses artificial intelligence to perform everyday tasks is a difficult issue,” it said, adding the society will continue to explore the problem.
The journal, which sells 3,000 to 3,500 copies, is published every two months. The January cover design was selected from about 100 ideas submitted during a public competition.