Alexa gets new MALE voice in the UK following claims of 'sexism' – how to make the switch

AMAZON is rolling out a male version of its Alexa voice assistant in the UK.

According to TechRadar, Brits can now select the baritone companion to be the voice of their Echo smart speakers and displays as an alternative to Alexa, the female helper shipped with the gadgets since 2014.

It's the first permanent new voice for Alexa beyond the addition of the occasional celebrity.

Amazon rolled out the new assistant in the US earlier this year alongside the option to change its name to "Ziggy".

That means you can bark "Ziggy" instead of "Alexa" at your device to order it to perform tasks such as pausing music, setting a timer or checking the weather.

However, Brits will have to wait until next year before they can assign the new name to their artificially intelligent helper.

Just say, "Alexa, change your voice" to choose between the sound of Alexa's original voice or a new voice option.

A wake word is a phrase that causes an Amazon Echo device to listen to what you're saying for a command. The default word is "Alexa".

What is Alexa?

If you’ve never heard of Alexa, here’s what you need to know…

  • Alexa is an "intelligent" personal assistant built by Amazon.
  • You can find her on several different devices, including Amazon's Echo speakers.
  • Alexa responds to voice commands, and can talk back to you.
  • She can perform thousands of different tasks, including telling you about the news or weather.
  • But she can do more complex things too, like ordering a pizza or arranging an Uber taxi pick-up.
  • To activate Alexa, you need to say "Alexa" to an Amazon Echo speaker.
  • Because she's powered by artificial intelligence, Alexa is constantly getting smarter.
  • Alexa will also get more used to your voice, and better understand what you want her to do over time.

You can request "Alexa, change your wake word" to select one of the other existing available wake words.

They currently include Alexa, Computer, Echo, or Amazon. Ziggy will be available to UK users sometime next year.

These new options started rolling out to customers in the US on July 15. It's not clear when they'll be available elsewhere in the word.

Alexa, a voice-activated assistant powered by artificial intelligence, was introduced in 2014 with the release of the first Amazon Echo speaker.

It's up against Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, which each have male and female voice options as well as a range of accents to choose from.

Voice assistants have previously come under fire from campaigners who claim they encourage sexism.

In a 2019 report, Unesco accused the operating systems of being "submissive" and "flirtatious", which it said could be reinforcing the harmful idea that women should be subservient.

Researchers found that when told "you're a slut" Apple’s assistant Siri replied "I'd blush if I could," "Well, I never!" and "Now, now."

The report also claimed that the tech assistants are "docile helpers", even when faced with insults,  which was said to be "entrenching" gender biases and had the potential to cause harm.

According to the UN, submissive female AI assistants create the idea of "a heterosexual female, tolerant and occasionally inviting of male sexual advances and even harassment".

In other news, Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.

The UK is fighting an epidemic of hack attacks targeting consumers and businesses, according to officials.

NASA has slammed Russia after a missile it fired into one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency swerve.

A 75-year-old Brit has told of his anger after scammers on WhatsApp fooled him into sending them hundreds of pounds.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at tech@the-sun.co.uk

    Source: Read Full Article