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Being a woman means living in constant fear of being sent a dick pic. They could come from anywhere at any time. You don't even need to be on a dating app. One day, you're minding your own business, then Bam! A dick pic just slid into your DMs on Twitter. You didn't ask for it. It's just there in full glory.

Now, all womankind has a new hero. Researchers at the University of Washington are working on an AI to detect and delete dick pics.

This is why we need more women in STEM.

It all started when Kelsey Bressler received an unsolicited dick pic on Twitter, and then posted about it. A friend approached Bressler about creating an AI that will detect, then delete dick pics before you get a chance to feel like your eyes need a shower. "When you receive a photo unsolicited, it feels disrespectful and violating," Bressler told the BBC. "It's the virtual equivalent of flashing someone in the street. You're not giving them a chance to consent, you are forcing the image on them, and that is never OK."

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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