Meet ‘Q’, The First Virtual Voice That Sounds Like Neither Male Nor Female1 min read


Video screenshot via Genderless Voice

Despite it being 2019, voice assistants like Apple’s ‘Siri’, Google Assistant and Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ are often perceived to take on female identities. All that might soon change, as Virtue, Vice’s creative agency, has partnered Copenhagen Pride to create the world’s first “genderless” voice.

Named ‘Q’, the voice is a composite of five voices who identify as neither male nor female. It is then tweaked to fit a gender-neutral range of pitches.

The makers of ‘Q’ hope the voice would help to eradicate gender bias. It fulfills the qualities of existing virtual assistants: it’s warm, helpful, and authoritative, making it a viable option for everything from home tech to public transport.

Unfortunately, ‘Q’ is now only a voice, in that it hasn’t been interwoven with AI, so it is still unable to understand requests or perform tasks.

The voice’s creators are currently pushing for ‘Q’ to be adopted by inventors of AI tech.

“We aim to get the attention of leading technological companies that work with AI to ensure they are aware that a gender binary normativity excludes many people, and to inspire them by showing how easy it would actually be to recognize that more than two genders exist when developing artificial intelligence devices,” described Thomas Rasmussen, head of communication for Copenhagen Pride, in a press statement.

“This is about giving people choices and options.”

[via CNBC, images via various sources]