Why do all our virtual assistants sound female?

Historically, women have outnumbered men in roles that involve serving others — jobs such as secretaries and office assistants. Because many of us have become accustomed to seeing women standing behind reception desks, carrying trays of food to hungry diners, or changing bed linens in hotel rooms, perhaps it’s a subconscious bias that leads developers to give their servile creations feminine qualities.

There could also be a monetary, or simply a user-experience, motivation behind this trend. A study from Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing found that we prefer feminine-sounding voice assistants — and that’s true for both men and women. Why? The research suggests it’s because female voices sound “warmer.” As such, software developers may explicitly choose to develop future virtual assistants with feminine voices because, to some extent, consumers like female voices better than male-voiced gadgets.

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