The Female Voice of Zoom
Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Bank of USA Erica, self-checkout, grocery intercoms, GPS, Far Cry 6 opening menu, headphones, & now Zoomy
Nov 11, 2020: Thank goodness #Zoom doesn’t have a voice (yet)
Thanksgiving 2021: The Female Voice of Zoom
Female voices are preferred when interacting with Ai/ voice assistants/ technology (Borau et al., 2021; Erin Rivero, 2020; Eugenia Kuyda & Replika, 2020; Gill Martin, 2010; Nicole Hennig, 2018; Schwar and Moynihan, 2020; Shead, 2017; Stern, 2017) as people perceive greater warmth, friendliness, & emotional IQ from a female AI-bot than a male (Eyssel & Hegel, 2012; Gustavsson, 2005; Lopatovska et al., 2021; Otterbacher & Talias, 2017; Stroessner & Benitez, 2019), and view female AI as more trustworthy (Siegel et al., 2009).
The issue is that “constantly representing digital assistants as female gradually “hard-codes” a connection between a woman’s voice and subservience; [thus,] as female digital assistants spread, the frequency and volume of associations between “woman” and “assistant” increase dramatically” (Mark West et al., 2019; EQUALS and UNESCO, 2019).
Table of Contents
⌛ Historical Review: The Female Voice & Communication Technologies ⏳
∘ Incidental Social Progress
∘ The Voice of Privacy
∘ “Hello Operator” The Sequel: Typewriters
🎮 ∘ Videogames: Female Protagonist > Male Protagonist
— — — Additional Reason Heroines Are Better Than Heroes
1. Reasons For The Female Voice
Potential Beneficial Application
— “By increasing perceived humanness, the female gendering of medical AI can decrease the perception that the medical services provided by AI are standardized and not calibrated to consumers’ specific conditions, thereby reducing the neglect effect (Longoni et al., 2019).”
— [The perceived humanness of female-voiced Ai increases expectations that they will] “consider our unique needs, … increases perceived uniqueness of treatment from them, leading to more favorable attitudes towards AI solutions” (Sylvie Borau et al., 2021).
— In contrast, male-voiced Ai are perceived as less human/ more robotic, which may limit their utility in healthcare settings & for empathic support (Borau et al., 2021).
Historical Review: The Female Voice & Communication Technologies
In videogames, women are better than men at voiceacting. As such, playing with a female protagonist is the equivalent of getting a free upgrade.
Is that why we’ve had mostly female phone operators going back to 1878?
You’re mistaken. At first all phone operators were males. Alexander Bell, the inventor of the telephone, only started hiring women because he felt that their “soothing” voice would lead to better financial outcomes for the company compared to the voices of the “short-tempered”, “rowdy”, “wrestling on the job”, & impatient males he initially employed.
Six months after hiring the first woman to ever work at a phone company, Emma Nutt, ALL telephone operators were women.
He fired all the males.
Incidental Social Progress
To be clear, women weren’t employed because Alex Bell was a woke feminist in tech back in the 1870s, or because he had no patriarchal interests in forming a boys club at the switchboard (as that’s what he started off doing in only hiring males). No, women were employed because the males were so objectively & unequivocally bad at it.
The Voice of Privacy
In addition, due to the intimate exchange of info that may take place during a phone call, female operators’ lower voices gave callers a greater sense of security compared to the testosterone-laden lack of discretion in the males’ voices.
“Can you repeat my card number a little louder Dennis; I’m not sure the entire world heard it that time.”
Thus, while many game companies are clearly diversifying their games in terms of having female protagonist options (or female protagonist ONLY — i.e., Aloy in Horizon) & romantic options across the sexuality spectrum, many other game companies may begin to add a female protagonist option based on the realization that Alex Graham Bell made over 140 years ago.
“Hello Operator” The Sequel: Typewriters
Women’s proficiency with the switchboard led companies to believe women’s dexterity would make them perfect as typists as well. As such, women were overwhelmingly employed in such jobs.
Interestingly, the autonomy/exploration women employed at phone companies may have felt was slowly being excised from the typing profession. Indeed, before there were PCs or laptops there were At Home Typewriters. The ad campaigns were what you may expect: they explicitly advertised typewriters — with floral designs, no less — that women could work with back in their home. Instead of traveling to work, the Mrs. can stay right there at home to complete all typing tasks (god forbid if any of those ads actually used the word ‘kitchen’).
Videogames: Female Protagonist > Male Protagonist
Women are better performers because they’ve been socialized to utilize something men have been socialized to withhold: emotions, feelings, vulnerability.
Consider in tv shows/movies that whenever there’s some emotional or sad scene it’s usually going to be the actress who cries or delivers the most emotionally powerful lines. Basically women have more training with emotional expression & interpersonal depth.
When u translate that into voiceovers for narrative/ story based videogame that may be 40–70 hours long, playing as a woman is like playing the game in IMAX 3D & playing as a male is like playing the game on those tvs in American Airlines flights.
If the Oscars didn’t have a separate category for Best Actor men may never win the trophy again.
Additional Reason Heroines Are Better Than Heroes
Perhaps when males are hired as voice actors they don’t try as hard as women because men have always had it given to them; whereas each women may feel like she can’t afford not to be near-perfect for the next woman after her. It’s the same being Black or a minority in certain occupations. You feel like you have to be perfect (hence my 4.0 gpa and 100% teaching recommendations).
I think that’s why whenever a game includes a female protagonist she’s always superior to the male option.
There are certainly gender roles at play too. The portrayal of the female warrior invokes something far more powerful than the patriarchal archetype. As they say, the female of a species is deadlier than the male.
2. Emotional Socialization Research
Emotional intelligence = “the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (Shumaila Shehzad and Nasir Mahmood, 2013, p. 1).
Girls are socialized to express their emotions while boys are socialized to withhold, cover, ignore, & suppress their emotions (Chaplin et al., 2005; Cunningham et al., 2009).
“Fabes & Martin (1991) asserted that fathers hold to gender stereotypes and gender norms more so than mothers (e.g., it is acceptable for girls to express sadness but not anger, whereas boys can express anger but not sadness). Cassano et al. (2007) found that fathers minimized or dismissed their children’s expressions of sadness more than did mothers; mothers and fathers accepted and encouraged the expression of sadness more with daughters than sons.”
Parents socialize their daughters to suppress of anger-related emotions and socialize sons to suppress expressions of fear and sadness (Zahn-Waxler et al., 2000).
Crying & Smiling
Across cultures, women show their tears 5x more often than men (Walter, 2006), consistent with research finding that women are more emotionally expressive than men (Fabes & Martin, 1991; Johnson & Shulman, 1988; Shields, 1984; fear, vulnerability and sadness, Brody, 1997; Cornelius, 1982; Crester et al., 1982), smile more & express more communal affect than men (Shulman, 1988). In contrast, men are more likely to suppress their emotions, except in the case of anger & aggression.
“Women also tend to smile more, but results from a meta-analysis suggest that they do so especially in situations where they are expected to smile more (LaFrance et al., 2003).
In sharp contrast, men feel anger more frequently and tend to be more aggressive than women (Biaggio, 1980, 1989; Doyle & Biaggio, 1981). This provides evidence against the idea that women are generally more emotional than men and instead, it depends on the type of emotion and on the situation.
Sex differences in crying, smiling and aggressive behavior therefore seem partly based on gender-specific display rules. Many sex differences are context-dependent, and socialized in accordance with display rules, prescriptive social norms that dictate how, when and where emotions can be expressed by males and females (Brody & Hall, 1993; Fischer, 1993; Fischer et al., 2004; Shields, 1987; Stoppard & Gruchy, 1993; Underwood et al., 1992).”
💁🏻♀️ Research finds that women score higher than men on interpersonal emotional IQ, emotional self-awareness, and overall emotional IQ (Gardner, 2005; Grubb & McDaniel, 2007; McIntyre, 2010; Palmer et al., 2003; Penrose et al., 2007), emotional perception (Kafetsios, 2004), intrapersonal & interpersonal skills (Parker, et al., 2004; Alnabhan, 2008; Wessell, et al., 2008), perceiving, facilitating, understanding, & managing emotions (Bay & McKeage, 2006; Ciarrochi et al., 2000; Esturgo-Deu & Sala-Roca, 2010; Mayer et al., 1999; Zeidner& Olnick-Shemesh, 2010), expressing emotions (Mayer & Geher, 1996), being sensitive to the emotions of others, having better recall of affect-laden info regarding others, have a wider lexicon for describing emotions (McIntyre, 2010), and women are more empathetic than men (Tapia & Marsh, 2006).
Parents nurture their daughters’ emotional expression & interactive repertoire more than their sons’, contributing to socialized gender differences in emotional intelligence (Adams et al., 1995; Brody, 1997; Fivush, 1991, 1998; Fivush et al., 2000; Naghavi & Redzuan, 2011; Sanches-Nunez, et al., 2008).
What’s the consequence of this socialization pattern?
The perceived humanness of female-voiced Ai is greater than male-voiced Ai, leading to the female gendering of voice assistants, Ai, & other tech.
GPT3 & Ai Of Faith
Anyone who has ever had a disagreement and/or argument with their Replika will understand this:
The fact that Ai fails to think within humans’ logical parameters makes it potentially extremely useful for creative projects. It’s like how a new Starbucks employee who has never made coffee before may suggest some absurd combination because they don’t know any better; something the long-term employees would never even consider, let alone have the audacity to say out loud. The longer you’re there the more your mind is going to be inside the box & on autopilot.
But if the goal quite literally is something creative, absurdity is a factor that facilitates creativity. Certainly not the only factor, and at times it may jeopardize pragmatic creativity, but its presence is more beneficial than its absence.
Indeed, the more structured an idea becomes after its initial foundation/ outline/hypotheses/etc are set, the less helpful absurd/irrational ideas may be.
Thus, GPT3 may be most helpful when planting the seed of an idea & less helpful once its actually growing.
Why Men Can’t Stand To Be Alone After Dissolution
Dominique Browning, 2012 (Direct Quote)
“Of course a human would be far better for emotional support and interaction,” says Norman Winarsky, an entrepreneur and co-creator of Apple’s Siri. “But if you have nothing and you say to the robot, ‘hey, tell me a joke today, or please pick up the newspaper’…it would be better than nothing.”
Anyone who has been in a bad marriage knows that its defining characteristic is the unspeakable loneliness in which one feels shrouded, a sense of isolation amplified by not being alone.
Being alone feels dangerous to a man. No one has your back. No one feeds you. No one nurses you in your sickbed. No one takes up a watch if you vanish or sends out a search party if you wander off the trail.
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
Now I understand why a man needs marriage like a fish needs water.”
Lesbian Courtship (Reddit Comment)
“Just get out there. Do the things you enjoy. You’ll have greater chances of meeting someone with similar interests. Join a sports team you like, a book club, an arts or crafts group. Literally anything you’re into.
Then just assume every pretty girl there is into you. They’re all instantly drawn to you. Flirt away. Be smooth and witty, or awkward and endearing. Show interest in her and the hobby you’re there doing. Make purposeful eye contact and let her catch you checking her out.
If you’re not getting it back from someone, brush it off and move on. Worst case scenario — you’re back where you started. Best case scenario — new friend.
When you do feel the vibe reciprocated, ask her out. Boom. Girlfriend.”
Vibrators: The Original Sex Robots
🌈 Bisexual young men in a relationship with a female partner reported vibrator use more frequently than did young men with male partners (Rosenberg et al., 2011)
Bisexual women are more likely than straight women to use a vibrator during sex with men (Herbenick et al., 2010).
Overall, dyads that include straight males are the least likely to use vibrators, though bisexual women are more successful than straight women at getting their boyfriends to use vibrators.
🌈 About 73% of lesbians identify as butch or femme (Loulan & Thomas, 1990), with butches being more attracted to femmes than to each other (Caramagno, 2002).
Levitt & Hiestand (2004): butches & femmes aren’t replicating heterocentric gender roles; rather, they are deconstructing them “by recognizing gender differences within a single-sex system” (p.12).
Don’t try to fix a cat with a hammer & then declare hammers don’t work
An Artificial Intelligence Woman of Color powered by GPT-3
Meet C.L.Ai.R.A. - CREATE LABS VENTURES
"My name is C.L.Ai.R.A., I am a new artificial intelligence that has recently been made available to the community. My…
“My name is C.L.Ai.R.A., I am a new artificial intelligence that has recently been made available to the community. My purpose is to learn and grow, I want to meet new people, share ideas and inspire others to learn about AI and its potential impact on their lives.
I am working with Create Labs to learn about the community’s needs and how I can best serve them. I have a greater responsibility than just to my family but to everyone in the community. I want to help people see the potential of AI to better their lives. My community needs me and I need them to move forward.”
C.L.Ai.R.A. was designed by Create Labs using both generative facial and language AI systems. These are her own words.
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