Male chat bots for girls
And to activate the Echo, you first have to say: “Alexa.” As in, “Alexa, play rock music.” (Or, more pointedly, “Alexa, stop.”)The command for Microsoft’s Cortana—“Hey Cortana”—is similar, though maybe a smidge gentler.Apple’s Siri can be activated with a “hey,” or with the push of a button.Back in the world of digital assistants, there is also Facebook’s M, which stands for messenger, a spokesperson told me.“M” may not be gender specific, but , asked M to schedule a photo shoot at a friend’s studio, the friend reported back to Chen that the phone call he received from Facebook was definitely conducted by a human woman.) And, a spokesperson reminded me, Alexa can be activated with one of 3 words: Alexa, Amazon, or Echo—though some customers have complained they want more options.
(Which, okay, but they could have gone with Alex, right?
“And it’s been conclusive that you and I just take orders from a female voice they understand a female voice better. (Several of the pilots said they preferred a female voice because it would be distinct from most of the other voices in the cockpit.)In another study, published in 2012, people who used an automated phone system found a male voice more “usable,” but not necessarily as “trustworthy” as a female voice.
And much like the group of pilots, men tended to say they preferred female voices even though they didn’t end up demonstrating that preference.
“Whereas the women in the study implicitly preferred female voices to male ones, even more than they admitted in the questionnaire,” Tanya Lewis wrote for If men are often the ones building digital assistants, and those assistants are modeled after women, “I think that probably reflects what some men think about women—that they’re not fully human beings,” Kathleen Richardson, the author of , told Lewis.
This may also be part of a larger tendency for the makers of anthropomorphic technologies, like robots, to play up cute and non-threatening qualities as a vehicle toward social acceptance.