For most people who talk to our technology -- whether it's Amazon's Alexa, Apple Siri or the Google Assistant -- the voice that talks back sounds female. Some people do choose to hear a male voice. Now, researchers have unveiled a new gender-neutral option: Q. "One of our big goals with Q was to contribute to a global conversation about gender, and about gender and technology and ethics, and how to be inclusive for people that identify in all sorts of different ways," says Julie Carpenter, an expert in human behavior and emerging technologies who worked on developing Project Q. The voice of Q was developed by a team of researchers, sound designers and linguists in conjunction with the organizers of Copenhagen Pride week, technology leaders in an initiative called Equal AI and others. They first recorded dozens of voices of people -- those who identify as male, female, transgender or nonbinary.
Talk to Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa and you'll notice a common trait: They both have female voices. While this can help make robotic assistants more relatable and natural to converse with, it has assigned a gender to a technology that's otherwise genderless. Now, researchers are hoping to offer a new alternative by launching what they're calling the world's first'genderless voice.' To create'Q', researchers recorded voices from participants who identify as non-binary, or neither exclusively female nor male. Researchers then tested the voice on 4,600 people across Europe.
Siri, Alexa and Cortana all started out as female. Now a group of marketing executives, tech experts and academics are trying to make virtual assistants more egalitarian. Siri, Alexa and Cortana all started out as female. Now a group of marketing executives, tech experts and academics are trying to make virtual assistants more egalitarian. Have you ever noticed something most virtual assistants have in common?
The majority of us use artificial intelligence every day -- without even realizing it. Like when Google predicts your search phrase or you issue a command to Siri or you scroll through ads and articles on your Facebook feed. And that, says AI technologist, Kriti Sharma, is dangerous. "Despite the common public perception that algorithms aren't biased like humans, in reality, they are learning racist and sexist behavior from existing data and the bias of their creators. "AI is even reinforcing human stereotypes."
All across the country, schools and states want to dictate where people can go to the bathroom. That doesn't mean folks have to listen. For the trans and gender non-conforming community, the right to use the bathroom of their choice is increasingly under attack. North Carolina requires people use the bathroom assigned on their birth certificates, and Texas is preparing a bill just like it. And while we can't change those laws overnight, we can print out non-cheesy gender-neutral bathroom signs and tape them to bathroom doors in our businesses and schools.