Siri gains a new gender-neutral voice option in latest iOS update
Apple has developed a new Siri voice, now available in the beta versions of its iOS 15.4 software, that doesn’t sound obviously male or female. The decision to introduce a gender-neutral voice is one that sees the tech giant taking yet another step away from the criticism that, historically, digital assistants have reinforced unfair gender stereotypes.
Over the years, industry observers and experts argued how the creation of voice assistants with female-sounding names — like Alexa, Siri and Cortana — which also speak with female-sounding voices, implied that women should be the ones to do your bidding at any time and even take your abuse. A U.N. study additionally called out the female voiced-assistants and their submissive and sometimes even flirty and coy styles.
More problematically, the decision to make so many of the virtual assistants female by default was likely driven by a lack of diversity in the teams responsible for building our everyday technology. That issue doesn’t…