Vice has challenged stereotypes like Siri and Alexa with what it says is a 'genderless' voice for voice assistants.
A project involving linguists, technologists and sound designers has made a start with the creation of a voice it has named Q. The work of Vice's creative agency Virtue and Copenhagen Pride, it aims to create a voice that is caring without reinforcing the stereotype of women in service-orientated roles.
The voices of more than a score of people who identify as male, female, transgender and nonbinary were recorded, and instead of merging them, a midrange voice - "somewhere between masculine and feminine" at between 145-175 Hertz - was chosen.
Sound designer Nis Nørgaard says four variants were sent to 4500 European participants, with one identified as a natural voice, which became the basis for Q.
As voice assistants take up more space and time, the experiment opens the debate about what we want to listen to.
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