How unlike feminists to ignore facts

This is just wondrous:

AI assistants with female voices are fuelling gender bias and reinforcing the patriarchy with submissive and coquettish responses to men, the UN has said.

Services such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri suggest that women are “docile helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like ‘hey’”, the organisation said.

Feminists have previously criticised the technology companies for perpetuating Victorian stereotypes of women as subservient and men as masterful by casting digital assistants as female.

Now the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, has said in a report that the assistants “replicate patriarchal ideas”. “In many communities this reinforces commonly held gender biases that women are subservient and tolerant of poor treatment,” the authors wrote.

The female version of Siri in particular provided the illusion of “a heterosexual female, tolerant and occasionally inviting of male sexual advances and even harassment”. The report highlighted Siri’s response when told by a reporter: “You’re a slut.” On different occasions, the reply was: “I’d blush if I could,” “Well, I never!” and “Now, now.”

Such design was the result of tech companies’ “overwhelmingly male engineering teams”, the researchers said. They noted that there had been no mention in multiple testimonials of a man changing a female voice to male.

Among recommended changes is a requirement that digital assistants “announce” they are not human at the start of interactions with people. Tech companies should stop giving the assistants female voices by default and users should have a choice on sign-up, including a gender-neutral option, the team said.

We can write the rest of the whine on autopilot, can’t we? Except the next sentence is just delicious:

Siri has a male voice by default in the UK.

43 comments on “How unlike feminists to ignore facts

  1. and AI assistants with male voices are ‘mansplaining’. They should all just beep and whistle like R2D2.

  2. “including a gender-neutral option”

    What’s that sound like? Paul Robeson crossed with Bonnie Langford?

  3. This isn’t exactly new.

    Remember the MG Maestro? It had a voice system for minor warnings (seat-belt, lights, handbrake etc – I think).
    In the UK the voice was female. To sell the car in Germany they had to change a male voice because the Germans didn’t like being told what to do by a woman IN THEIR OWN CAR!

  4. I support equal rights for women. Women should be treated with respect and equality.
    I am against rape, sexism, sexual harassment, inequality, and wife beating.

    Domestic abuse is an evil that needs to be stopped.
    We need equality for women.

  5. Thanks for that Tony… has a lot to do with the pitch of the voice my phone barks at me with.

  6. “I am against rape, sexism, sexual harassment, inequality, and wife beating.”

    Exactly. That’s why feminists are using it against you. If you weren’t, it wouldn’t work. You couldn’t be led so easily.

  7. “Tony” reminds me of the mentalist style of “Meiac” or “Jesus” both late of the blog.

    Looks like they have released him as cured again.

  8. Tech companies should stop giving the assistants female voices by default and users should have a choice on sign-up, including a gender-neutral option, the team said.

    Heteronormative wankers! Where is the camp option for gay men?

  9. @Tony “I am against rape, sexism, sexual harassment, inequality, and wife beating.”

    I’m against those things too. I’m also against husband beating, so I win.

  10. “Among recommended changes is a requirement that digital assistants “announce” they are not human at the start of interactions with people.”

    Thank goodness. I’m forever mistaking a small bit of metal and plastic as a human.

    “The UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, has said in a report”

    I guess all the world’s really important problems have been solved.

  11. “Siri has a male voice by default in the UK.”

    I hereby formally create a new meme:

    #FirstWorldProblemsThatArentEvenFirstWorldProblems

  12. This kind of thing proves that all the actual real problems with gender inequality have been solved. They haven’t any more real issues to complain about so they have been reduced to making stuff up in order to avoid getting a real job and doing something useful.

  13. We need equality for women.

    1. Please define “equality”

    2. Please define “women”

    When we agree on the meanings of these words, then we can discuss whether this statement is true.

  14. “I’m also against husband beating, so I win.”

    Starry-eyed optimist. More likely ‘I’m also against husband beating, so I lose’.

  15. @dearieme

    Probably and sadly true. Evil husbands beat wives. Wives beat evil husbands who have pushed them to breaking point.

  16. I could start to think of my Echo as female if they replaced the speakers with a mouth that gives a satisfying BJ.

    Actually, when I go home tonight I’m going to say “Alexa, talk dirty to me” to see if it could be a halfway house.

  17. Like many people I am holding off on paying good money for such a device until I can get one which is routinely stroppy, refuses to perform any task which offends its SJW sensibilities and gives me lectures on gender studies.

  18. ‘Chernyy_Drakon: ‘Please define “women”’

    I remember a time this would have been ironic

  19. @DtP

    The UN issued a stark warning that we only had 10 years to SAVE THE WORLD and disater was inevitable if we didn’t act immediately on climate change. I believe half of the US was predicted to become a dust-bowl and you’d be spending 100s of billions on shore defences on your eastern seaboard to stop flooding.

    That was issued in 1989. If you look out your window you should either see a dust-bowl or the sea.

  20. The first voice warning systems were all for fighter pilots. They gave them women’s voices after finding out the pilots tended to ignore male voices. Never mind, I’m sure we can still pretend it’s sexist somehow 🙂

  21. Andrew C–Well if you look out of your window AT the sea it WOULD be a dustbowl if it wasn’t full of seawater.

    That must be what they meant.

  22. @Tim Newman

    MG Maestro Turbo was a good car, Montego variant was way better than BMW 3 Series

  23. @ Tony McRush
    Yes, I fully agree. In theory my wife does as well – but she makes exceptions for all of her female friends who demand inequalities in their favour.

  24. @ Rupert Fiennes
    Of course it’s sexist – you’ve just told us that it is sexist and why.

  25. @ Rob
    We need a State broadcaster to provide information that is not influenced by paid advertisers.
    What you should have asked is why the BBC is analysing the percentage of speech by females in a non-BBC series which involves several wars? All the wars are fought by men (except when they are fought by dragons). [Well, maybe Asha Greyjoy, not clear, but in my son’s books Brienne only jousts]
    Does the BBC also measure the amount of speech by women in the ring during a boxing match?

  26. They were using an algorithm that has an accuracy rate of 85% so basically its crap and the information not worth publishing

  27. ‘The UN issued a stark warning that we only had 10 years to SAVE THE WORLD and disater was inevitable if we didn’t act immediately on climate change.’

    The UN, being a generous and wondrous institution, they gave us another 10 years.

  28. @Pcar
    MG Maestro Turbo was a good car, Montego variant was way better than BMW 3 Series

    +1

  29. We need a State broadcaster to provide information that is not influenced by paid advertisers.

    OK, we have a broadcaster providing ‘information’ influenced completely by the people who work there, which is far worse – at least we can withhold money from advertisers by shunning the products they advertise.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.