A workshop series: Developing a collaborative AI Voice Assistant by women for women + people who do not primarily identify as male
AI voice assistants like Ok Google, Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Bixby use female names, identities, voices (as a response to pressure an increasing number now have an option to change the gender of the voice to male). Studies revealed that both men and women respond more favourably to female speech and want their AI assistant to be ‘obedient and assisting.’ Culturally we are used to hearing female voices in subordinate/service roles and therefore on the whole we are more comfortable with a female voiced AI assistant.
We do not want voice assistants to say ‘no’ to us – this is particularly problematic when research indicates virtual assistants find themselves fending off endless sexual solicitations and abuse from users. Some female AIs are programmed to deflect the comments, others respond with sassy, flirtatious comebacks, and some seemingly capitulate if users are persistent enough. What happen to – no means no!?
These workshops is a response to the lack of gender diversity in the development of AI systems. The project looks to develop an AI voice assistant programmed through collaborative workshops with women and people who do not primarily identify as male.
A collaborative project developed with Coral Manton, designer and technologist from i-DAT Research & Design Collective at Plymouth University.