Meet Q, the new gender-neutral AI

Close your eyes. Listen to the voice in this video. Does it sound more like a man or a woman? If you can’t make up your mind, then that is the point: it is designed to be gender-neutral. This week, a UN study criticised the female voices of Siri and Alexa for reinforcing “commonly held gender biases that women are subservient and tolerant of poor treatment”.

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  1. The UN report explains: “Because the speech of most voice assistants is female, it sends a signal that women are [...] docile helpers, available at the touch of a button.” Are AI assistants sexist? Debate as a class.
  2. Write a short story, set in a future where AI assistants become conscious. What effect would this have on our homes, relationships and society?