Ross: Solving all-gender restroom awkwardness with an AI

Dec 13, 2022, 7:56 AM | Updated: 8:34 am
all gender restroom...
Close-up of sign for all gender restroom in Dublin, California, with male, female and gender-inclusive stick figure illustrations, March 13, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

This has happened to me three times now, so I’m going to assume it’s happened to some of you.

You go to a theater with all-gender restrooms, and there is this little dance that breaks out where people try to figure out which line they really want to be in. In the spirit of inclusion, I once stood in line for the former women’s toilet, but once I got in, I was definitely getting looks.

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Another time I saw women leaving the line when more men began to show up for what used to be the men’s toilet.

So I thought I’d do a commentary on how to handle this situation diplomatically.

And since this is a delicate area, I took advantage of this new online service – and this is an actual service – an artificial intelligence scriptwriter called ChatGPT.

And I asked it to write a dialog about a male and female standing in the same restroom line who feel a little awkward but stick with the line anyway.

This is the script, read by my wife and me, as the computer wrote it:

David: Hey, I’m not really comfortable standing in the same line for the all-gender restroom.

Patricia: Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s like we’re all just waiting for someone to accidentally walk into the wrong stall.

David: Ha, yeah. Or worse, the same stall.

Patricia: Ew, let’s not even think about that.

David: But you know what, I think we should just use it anyway. It’s important to be inclusive and open-minded, even if it feels a little awkward at first.

Patricia: You’re right. And it’s not like we haven’t shared a bathroom before. Remember that time we had to use the one at that gas station on the road trip?

David: Oh god, don’t remind me. That was the worst.

Patricia: At least this one is clean and has actual toilet paper.

David: True. And hey, at least we’re not one of those couples that has to share a bathroom and deal with each other’s gross habits on a daily basis.

Patricia: Oh my god, can you imagine? Talk about awkward.

David: Definitely. Let’s just use this all-gender restroom and move on with our lives.

Patricia: Agreed. And if anyone gives us weird looks, we’ll just tell them it’s for the sake of inclusion and open-mindedness.

David: Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it.

And scene. Thank you, computer.

And now, I don’t know which is more uncomfortable – worrying that I might be using the wrong restroom or that an AI program has more advanced social skills than I do.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Solving all-gender restroom awkwardness with an AI