Amy Chambers Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University wrote an article on the usage of an female voice in AI assistants like SIRI and Alexa and exposed sexism into a new realm.
“There’s a reason Siri, Alexa and AI are imagined as female – sexism”
In the path that led her to declare sexism to the creators of Sir and Alexa, the two biggest companies in the world, Apple and Amazon, she touched upon the fact that sexism is part of the formula when they use a female voice. It is a reminder that because these are AI products, being called AI Digital Assistant, very reminiscent to the position of secretary that was exclusively to females up until the beginning of the new century, and still is for a certain extend. Beside the virtues of warmth and comfort of the female voice, I tend to agree with her insinuation that the subconscious intention of using the female voice for an AI Digital Assistant is related to the real life similarities of the female only opportunity in the workforce is secretarial position and therefore it is sexism in some form or another, intentional or not by the young male software developers from the Silicon Valley.
On the other facet of the sexism story where the author, using her academic experience in the film industries deduced that most of the voices of the AI villains from major science fiction films like HAL-9000 of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Terminator and Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, are all male. Precisely in her own words:
“Male AI used to be more common, specifically in stories where technology becomes evil or beyond our control (like Hal). Female AI on the other hand is, more often than not, envisaged in a submissive servile role. Another pattern concerns whether fictional AI is embodied or not.”
If we follow the same logic of the original determination of sexism with regards to the voices to the AI assistants Siri and Alexa therefore to label AI Villains voices from these major Hollywood movies should lead to the same conclusion. She did not complain or declared that Hollywood is sexist toward males as Silicon Valley toward females.
I do believe that by bringing out the argument to the open is right in the way she describes the female robots are subservient woman. This is similar to the equivalency of the female AI assistant voice with the secretarial female assistant that dominated this position for a long time when woman started working in major cities to support themselves and their family.
This subject is overwhelmingly enlightening by simply bringing sexism to the table when famous scientists and engineers from all over the globe like the late professor Stephen Hawking and Tesla’s Elon Musk who warned the whole world on the risk of creating a real AI Robots that some day will bring the end of humanity, be it male or female.
unfortunate to bid our last farewell to “The Queen of Soul”. The legendary singer, songwriter and pianist Aretha Louis Franklin died on August 16 at the age of 76. She died at 9:50 a.m. at her house in Detroit after a long battle against pancreatic cancer.
Aretha Franklin was born on March 25,1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. She was raised in Detroit, Michigan, the place where her voice was first heard. At the age of 10, after her mother’s death, she started singing in churches and from there her fame began. She signed her first recoding deal with J.V.B Records with her first song being Songs of Faith.
The singer rose to prominence with her famous songs being I Never Loved a Man (The Way I loved You) (1967), Respect (1967) and Think (1968) amongst other songs. She won 18 grammy awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and she is one of the bestselling musical artists of all time.
Aretha Franklin’s funeral will be held August 31 in Detroit according to her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. The service for friends and family will be at 10 a.m. ET at Greater Grace Temple. Public viewings will be held August 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Quinn said.
People are not waiting for her funeral to pay their respects. Politicians are paying their respects via statements and twitter. President Donald Trump, before a cabinet meeting at the White House, gave his “warmest best wishes and sympathies” to Franklin’s family. He wrote on Twitter “The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!” Former President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to her as well. They said “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.” Former secretary Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter: “Mourning the loss today of @ArethaFranklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.”
Maxine Waters wrote: “One of the greatest voices of all time has been silenced. My dear friend Aretha Franklin has passed. Even though her music will live on forever, the sound, the voice, and the inspiration of the Queen of Soul can never be matched. Farewell, Aretha.”
Aretha Franklin was a true Legend. She inspired greatness in others, helped ease our pain and sorrows and now it is her time to rest in peace.