Neither male or female. That was the idea behind the first genderless AI voice named Q.
AI does not have a biological gender. So Copenhagen Pride and Virtue have developed the language profile Q, which could, for example, replace the voices of Siri and Alexa.
Equality is one of the benefits that digital technology can bring – when used properly – the computer, the artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet, regardless of where the users come from, how old they are – or whether they are male or female. Figurehead of this independence of physical boundaries is the AI. And we physical beings interact with it through the ubiquitous language assistants, such as Siri or Alexa.
But if Siri or Alexa have no body, why do they sound like women? This is the question posed by the organization Copenhagen Pride, which campaigns for the rights of homosexuals and bisexuals, intersexuals and transsexuals.
Virtue has recorded five human voices for the neutral AI voice that do not match the typical male or female voice patterns. Using software, this mix was transferred to a neutral frequency range (145 Hz), which is between typical male frequency (80 Hz) and female frequency (220 Hz). 4600 respondents from across Europe ranked the programmed votes on a scale of 1 (male) to 5 (female), allowing Virtue to refine Q’s voice until it was perceived as gender neutral in the trial.
Q avoids the association of classic stereotypes that voices may trigger. And so could help reduce prejudice. After all, helpers like Alexa and Siri are often women by nature. In contrast, language assistants in banking and insurance apps are mostly male, according to Copenhagen Pride. Thus, the disembodied AI votes are stuck directly in gender clichés – and consolidate these further.
Virtue now wants to create the appropriate conditions that allow the installation of Q in voice-controlled devices. And prepares the application for other areas, such as computer games, train announcements or cinemas.
Have a listen!