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Scientists develop first GENDERLESS voice - and it sounds completely unique

Mirror logo Mirror 3/12/2019 Shivali Best

Close up of mouth © Getty Images Close up of mouth
From Siri to Alexa, many of the most well-known voice assistants have been assigned a gender.

But that could be set to change, thanks to this new genderless voice.

Researchers from Virtue Nordics and Copenhagen Pride have developed what they claim is the world’s first genderless voice, dubbed Q.

Q was created in the hopes of improving inclusively in voice technology, and its creators are urging tech firms to use Q in their smart assistants.

Julie Carpenter, who was involved in the creation of Q, said: “Q adds to a global discussion about who is designing gendered technology, why those choices are made, and how people feed into expectations about things like trustworthiness, intelligence, and reliability of a technology based on cultural biases rooted in their belief system about groups of people.

“Q is a step forward in true innovation because it forces a critical examination of these belief systems.”

To develop the genderless voice, the researchers recorded five voices that don’t fit within male or female binaries.

a close up of food: Q © Virtue Nordics Q

Using voice modulation software, these voices were moved into a gender-neutral range.

These altered voices were then tested on more than 4,600 people, who were asked whether the voices sounded more male or female.

Based on these answers, the voices were modulated and tested again, before choosing the perfect genderless voice for Q.

The researchers now hope to build the AI framework within Q’s voice, allowing it to be used as a fully functioning voice assistant in the future.


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