UNESCO Report Claims Default AI Voice Assistants Are Sexist

According to the UN, having female voices as default for AI voice assistant technology reinforces the notion that women are docile and eager-to-please helpers.

The report also made mention that the smart home gadgets must respond with blunt commands such as “OK” and “Hey”, and that they can’t defend themselves against abuse, which gives the idea that women are often “subservient”.

While it’s true that default AI voices for Cortana and Siri are female, there’s an option to switch to male voices depending on preference. Alexa offers several accents but all of them are female. Google has 10 voice options which are evenly split into male and female voices when users are setting up their Google Home device.

The report ends with a note that says women are being left out in the field of technology and thus have little to no option to develop technology and prevent sexist decisions. When asked to comment, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple declined.

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