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A team of designer of the sound thought to a tool anti prejudices to eradicate the gender prejudices enbodied by many Ais of the technological sector like Siri and Alexa.
The first tool anti prejudices is called Q
In many languages, beside the gender male and femine, there is even a neutral gender. From a while even the world of the vocal assistant is trying to adapt itself to this need. It’s trying for a voice which is neither male nor female for the artificial intelligences that populate houses and offices.
It’s a few infact that Q was born. It was created by a team of experts of Virtue, the creative agency of Vice, in cooperation with the organizers of the Copenhagen Pride, the festival for the Lgbtq+ people.
This voice no gender has something robotic, but it is at the same time soft and involving. While listening to it someone feels it’s femine, other male.
This confusion makes it unique of its kind and perfect to eradicate the gender prejudices that ever often are filling the technological sector.
Q is only a prototype
For now Q exists only in a prototype version. It wasn’t integrated in any system that use the artificial intelligence yet.
But why should the companies use it? First of all, because there are people that don’t identify themselves into neither men nor women.
The genderless voice can help peolpe to fell more represented and, consequentially, less discriminated. Therefore, the assistence voices gave to the technological products often reflect a sexist prejudice.
An example? Alexa and Siri were born to help, so why did they give them a woman voice?
Another example? The machines used inside the factories often use a male voice, because it’s synonym of authority.
If all the voice were genderless all of us will be less affected with this mental associations, so even the field of the anti prejudices tools will increase its action field.
How was the anti prejudice tool born?
Everything started with a test. The idea to create a neutral voice was born to meet the requestes of the marketplace that is ever more moving to create perfect products for anyone, beyond the gender.
An anti prejudices tool that increase the sales of the vocal assistants like Siri and Alexa even between the ones that are now felt discriminated for their sexual or gender orientation.
The sound designer Nis Nørgaard, that partecipated to the project, explained that the team asked to twenty people – men, women and trans – to read the same phrase.
At the beginning the experts thought to overlap the voices. This way, though, was soon left for some technical difficulties.
Some people read faster, other slower. Someone chanted the words, other not. There was then who spoke loud and who low. So, it was hard to create a unique vocal line from more voices.
So the experts thought to work on the tone of voice of anyone. They worked on that characteristic that often brings us to associate a person to a sexual gender.
Especially, Nørgaard and the other designers of the sound tried to arise and to reduce the tone until to bring it to a value between the 145 and the 175 Herz, a range that makes the voice much more neutral.
After changed all the tones, the voices were mixed and overlapped until to obtain four new variants.
The voice of Q was chosen by a sample of 4500 listeners all over Europe. These people, won’t able to understand the gender of the voice listened, so they called it genderless.
This post is also available in: Italiano