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Virtual Assistants Can Reinforce Sexist Stereotypes. These Researchers Want To Change That

If you have virtual assistance, chances are high that it’s been gendered. From leading assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana, virtual assistants generally default to a female voice, and that’s a problem . Although it may seem trivial, tech can reinforce old stereotypes, even as it innovates. That includes stereotypes of women who only exist to follow orders and please others. In some ways, virtual assistants are like having the ideal stereotype of a secretary sitting on your dresser. To combat this trend, a Denmark-based team recently presented a new voice at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals in Texas, as reported by Reuters . Unlike leading voices, this one is designed to be neither male nor female. Everybody, meet Q . “Hi, I’m Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant,” Q says for an introduction. “I’m created for a future where we are no longer defined by gender, but rather how we define ourselves.” Q is a joint venture...

Vanessa Taylor

Mar 12, 2019