Apple Siri: Tech giant Apple has decided that its smart assistant Siri will no longer have a female voice by default. With the release of the sixth iOS 14.5 beta, the change has become effective, and once the official software update is released for all the users, iPhone and iPad users will be asked to select their preferred voice for Siri when they set up their device. Before this, Siri was set to the female voice by default, and once the device was set up, the users could change their preference in settings.
Apart from this, Cupertino is also bringing in two completely new voices for Siri (via TechCrunch). These voices apparently use source talent recordings which go through Apple’s neural text-to-speech engine, so that the voice comes across in a more organic manner when responding in phrases which are generated during the process.
The move is significant because it attempts to remove gender associations, which is increasingly being carried out in various sectors across the spectrum, and finally, big tech companies are also jumping on the wagon. Previous studies have highlighted that association of female voices with smart assistants led to the reinforcement of bias and negative stereotypes, which is why Apple’s step is significant in the rectification of previous steps that have been taken by many industries in the past.
Apple has said that the move towards its commitment to diversity and inclusion, along with products and services that also aim to reflect the diversity that the world has.