A report from the United Nations says that making virtual assistants like Siri have female voices by default is sexist.
As voice-powered technology reaches into communities that do not currently subscribe to Western gender stereotypes, including indigenous communities, the feminization of digital assistants may help gender biases to take hold and spread. Because Alexa, Cortana, Google Home and Siri are all female exclusively or female by default in most markets, women assume the role of digital attendant…
I think it’s a fair point.
I wrote about Kévin Eugène before when he created a macOS concept. Now he’s back with a Siri concept, and it looks great. The concept is called iOS Mogi, and it’s based on something called parallel help. Basically, it involves Siri being able to work in the background to carry out your commands, instead of the current “issue command, Siri reply, done, exit.” Siri opens as a small notification, instead of taking up the whole screen. This is the true future of virtual assistants. They should be able to do things on their own in a more proactive way than iOS 9 Proactive ever could.
You know how sometimes, you feel frustrated when you try to send a message with Siri, and end up taking your phone and typing your text? In iOS Mogi, instead of relying completely on Siri to do things for you, you can ask it to help you get things done faster. No more wandering in the UI, simply begin your sentence with « I want to… » and Siri will let you do it, without leaving what you were doing (in iOS Mogi, what you are doing is really precious).
Should Siri be more gender neutral? That’s what Laura Sydell writes about for NPR. Siri, Alexa, and Cortana started out as female.
Amazon is working on a new Echo designed to compete directly with Apple’s HomePod, and it’s expected to ship this fall.