Apple’s emoji autocomplete thinks all CTOs are men

Apple’s emoji autocomplete thinks all CTOs are men
iMessage predictive emoji for "CTO"
Source: Melanie Ehrenkranz/Mic
iMessage predictive emoji for "CTO"
Source: Melanie Ehrenkranz/Mic

The patriarchy has infiltrated your keyboard.

As Slack engineer Erica Baker pointed out on Twitter, when you type "CTO" into iMessage, the predictive emoji feature suggests you use a male worker emoji. When we tested it out, we found the same result. There's space for another emoji like, I don't know, a female worker emoji, but instead we just get a blank space. Cool.

For the uninitiated, a CTO is a Chief Technology Officer, and not including an option to send a woman and a man reinforces the Silicon Valley cultural mindset that men are more equipped for tech and leadership positions than women.

Strangely, when you type "CEO" and "COO" there are both male and female emojis — this patriarchal oversight seems to only occur in the technical position. Color me unsurprised. 

Mashable pointed out in March that CEO and CFO also only included male emoji — so it seems the engineers at Apple have resolved some of the sexism in their software... but it seems they still have room to improve. 

Predictive emoji for "CFO" in iMe
Source: Mic
Predictive emoji for "CEO" in iMessage
Source: Mic

This marks yet another reason why tech companies need to diversify their workforces — machines aren't free from bias, and if men are predominantly the ones building our machines, we're going to see non-inclusive results such as this one.

We have reached out to Apple and will update with a response.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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