The National Digest

How Voice Assistants Reinforce the Tech Gender Gap

Voice assistants are becoming commonplace in most homes and offices, but using women’s voices for most devices may be doing more harm than good.

Smart voice assistants are becoming staples in consumer life, with 47.3 million US adults having access to the devices in their homes. Working professionals are even taking advantage of the smart technology in their office environments, using this technology to boost productivity and improve in-office communications, reported our sister site ZDNet.

While these smart assistants offer a slew of benefits to users, not all impacts of the devices are positive, according to Julia Kanouse, CEO of the Illinois Technology Association.

The major digital voice assistants—Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant—all have one major default in common: A female voice. While Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana do allow users to change the voice to male, the devices default to a female tone, which is a problem, as these voices reinforce the stereotype of women being “obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers,” according to a recent report from the United Nations.

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