If you’ve been paying attention to any AI announcements made in the past year, you’ve probably noticed that many tech companies chose star or star-like symbols to represent their AI products and services. At Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event today, the sparkles logo was everywhere.

And I need tech companies to stop. Like, now.

The sparkles emoji is special. It’s not the boring, basic star (⭐) that your grandma sends you. It’s not this one (💫) that’s supposed to represent being dizzy but is most commonly used by HR to tell you you’re a Shooting Star! This glowing star (🌟) gets an honorable mention for being quirky and bold, but none of them compare to ✨ her ✨. 

The sparkles emoji is so versatile and has many meanings. It’s used for emphasis, to add a little flair, a little personality to your messages. It says you’re fun, that you don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s almost always used when you’re being sarcastic; it’s the more fun, emoji version of this ~tilde~. In my opinion, ✨ is for the folks who are just a girl! (The Notting Hill reference and meme, not the gender construct. Folks of all genders can and should use ✨.)

google gemma demo on screen

Google introduces Gemma demo at Google I/O 2024

Screenshot/James Martin/CNET

Samsung may have thought that the stars would be a good visual representation at its Unpacked event today, where it finally unveiled the brand new Galaxy ring and announced the newest generations of the Galaxy foldable phones, Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Buds. Since, you know, there are stars in the galaxy. But it’s not the only company to do this. Google’s Gemini AI uses star icons as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple threw some stars around its rainbow-branded Apple Intelligence coming with iOS 18.

Beyond the literal interpretation, I have to assume tech companies are intentionally branding its AI with the sparkles and stars. Maybe they think they can put stars in our eyes to distract us from more malicious consequences of AI, including privacy concerns, the environmental impact and potential job losses. Or, maybe it’s that stars are remote and can seem bright and mysterious — the way AI companies wish to be while obscuring the inner workings of their chatbots and companies. Sparkles symbolize the magic of new tech without forcing us to ask deeper questions.

Well, I refuse to ignore those implications. And I demand that these tech companies drop the sparkle aesthetic in the meantime. It’s not for them. 

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