Is this a male or female voice? Q – The world’s first genderless voic

People are afraid of labels. One of my most favorite astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson doesn’t want to be identified as an atheist. When you however ask him whether he believes that a god exists, he’ll answer no. Personally I love labels. You can call me an atheist for all I care. A friend asked me over at Facebook what religion label I go by, and I immediately answered, atheism. Running away from labels has gotten so worse that there are many who would rather die than be identified as women; or men. Some of them have taken extreme measures to swap their gender. African American as a term was adopted because the blacks in the US didn’t want to be labeled as black. And the list is long. Given this fear of labels, researches working with Copenhagen Pride back in March unveiled Q, a genderless voice meant to eliminate stereotypical expectations associated with gender roles.

“There is a history of research that shows often that people might prefer to hear a female-sounding voice in some situations, particularly when the tasks associated with that voice are assistive. Then they may prefer to hear a male voice … where the voice needs to come from an authority source, like when giving directions. It really reinforces gender stereotypes,” said Carpenter who is one of the engineers behind Q.

What those behind Q intends to achieve is to have companies behind Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, Brixby and other similar voice assistants to also provide a genderless voice as one of the options in the voice menu. Right now one can only choose either male or female voices, something gender sensitive individuals who would prefer we got rid of male and female labels do not like. They instead would prefer to have an option of using a voice assistant that is neither male nor female – a genderless voice. This is why they are pushing for something like the Q genderless voice to be part of the voices available for the digital assistants to use.

In making Q, the researchers recorded several voices and a few chosen and mixed up to arrive at an almost genderless voice. The voice was then tested on 4,600 people in Europe and adjusted until majority of them agreed that the voice was neutral. Typically, higher frequency audio tends to be associated with female voice, whereas low frequency audio tend to be thought of as male voice. Q is therefore somewhere at a neutral frequency that is neither male or female. This video shared by Yahoo Finance gives a little detail

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Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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