Joanna Stern, writing for The Wall Street Journal:
You get the point: The virtual assistants popping up in our lives
sound overwhelmingly female. “I’m female in character,” Amazon’s
Alexa responds if you ask her if she is a woman. In their own
clever ways Google, Apple and Microsoft’s voice assistants will
tell you they’re genderless…in unmistakably womanlike voices.
As femme bot after femme bot has invaded our phones , speakers,
cars, TVs — even our refrigerators — I’ve been left wondering:
Where the man bots at? And why do these hunks of plastic and
electronics need to be assigned a gender at all? My Amazon Echo
doesn’t have any reproductive organs.
Siri is the only one of the bunch with a male option:
Siri may default to a female voice in the U.S. but Apple provides
both male and female voice options for iPhone and iPad users to
choose from. In fact, on iPhones where the language is Arabic,
French, Dutch or British English, Siri defaults to a male voice.
★ Tuesday, 21 February 2017