First genderless ‘non binary’ AI voice created to battle sexism in voice assistants

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Could this reshape the way we think about voice assistants? (Getty)

Researchers have created the first ‘non binary’ or genderless artificial intelligence voice – Q – in an effort to battle problems including stereotyping.

Many assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa default to female voices – and research has shown people find those reassuring.

But a group of researchers is launching the first ‘non binary’ personal assistant – with a ‘genderless’ voice.

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It was created by Copenhagen Pride, working with the Equal AI equality campaign and a creative agency, Vice.

The resarchers recorded the voices of people who identify as non-binary altered the pitch – and tested the result on 4,500 people.

Julie Carpenter, one of the researchers behind Project Q said, ‘Q adds to a global discussion about who is designing gendered technology, why those choices are made, and how people feed into expectations about things like trustworthiness, intelligence, and reliability of a technology based on cultural biases rooted in their belief system about groups of people.

‘Q is a step forward in true innovation because it forces a critical examination of these belief systems.’

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