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Don't worry, gender-neutral voice assistants are on the way

More inclusive voice tech is coming with Project Q: a 'gender-neutral voice assistant'

By: Anthony Garreffa from 4 days, 2 hours ago

Voice assistants are about to get much more inclusive, with Project Q launching in 2020 as a "gender-neutral voice assistant".

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Ryan Sherman, a creative developer on Project Q, explains: "Current voice technology is essentially gendered. When we look at Siri or Google Assistant they all predominantly start out as female by default, so we started out with that question: why do we gender AI?"

Project Q launched back in 2019 with a prototype voice developed by non-binary linguists, and then the company asked 4500 people throughout Europe whether they thought the voice sounded male or female. Out of the 4500 people, the answers came down to a 50/50 response on whether the voice sounded male or female.

Sherman continued: "Research shows that female voices are more helpful, compliant and more subservient. Whenever male voices are used within AI technology, it's used to telegraph superiority, intelligence and more commanding qualities, an example being IBM Watson. All voice tech only offers two options and the world has moved past only seeing gender as binary".

"Q is a voice to break down that gender binary and really highlight that tech companies should take responsibility which is proportional to the kind of influence that they exercise over society".

You can read more on Project Q here.

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