(June 12 – 19)
The United Nations has conducted a study that says female AI assistants reinforce harmful gender stereotypes.
Th UN says “because the speech of most voice assistants are female (such as Alexa or Siri), it sends a signal that women are obliging, docile, and eager-to-please helpers, available at the touch of a button or with blunt voice commands”.
Tech companies say users prefer women voices because they are perceived as more “helpful”, while male voices are deemed “authoritative”. Most tech companies offer the choice of switching to a male voice setting.
The UN recommends tech companies should strive to build a genderless voice assistant.
Poll question: Have you ever thought the female voice assistant you may have is harmful to gender stereotypes as the UN study suggests?
Yes, I have thought my female voice assistant is harmful to gender stereotypes – 4%
No, I have never thought about the gender of my voice assistant – 44%
I do not have a voice assitant, but I think the UN study has merit – 4%
I do not have a voice assitant, but I think the UN study is meritless -48%